Living for Jesus and following Jesus should be the same thing. Both involve walking with Him, communing with His Spirit.
3 He who loves wisdom makes his Father glad,
6 …a righteous person sings and rejoices [when truth wins out].
Today, we marry two ideologies together: Being devoted to Christ and following Christ. You may ask, “What’s the difference?” In order to do one, we must be the other. The difference is that many people give their lives to Jesus, but then have trouble moving forward. The whole concept is to walk with Christ. What good is it to “give your life to Christ” but then not follow Him through everyday life?
Consider these verses:
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Ephesians 4:1
What is that calling? “Follow Me.” We find this invitation of Jesus in Matthew 4:19, 8:22, 9:9, 10:38, 16:24, 19:21, Mark 1:17, 2:14, 8:34, 10:21, Luke 5:27, 9:23, 9:59, 14:27, 18:22, John 1:43, 10:27, 12:26, 21:19, 22. He calls us to follow Him.
2 and walk in the way of [live a life of] love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:2
We have both in this passage, depending upon which translation we use. We “live a life” by “walking in the way.” What way? The way of love, Jesus’ love, the sacrificial kind, the compassionate kind.
10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: Colossians 1:10a
Do you know what pleases Jesus? We do! We are already pleasing to Him (Ephesians 1:4-5). Walking with Him is what we are called to do everyday. When we follow Jesus as His disciples, we walk with Him along life’s path. Here is what will happen (Colossians 1:10b-14):
- We will bear fruit in every good work (everything we do will be led by the Spirit to do),
- We will increase in the knowledge of God (by studying His Word every day and communing with Him in prayer, all the time personally and then often with other followers),
- We will be strengthened with all power according to His glorious might (that comes from the Spirit),
- We will have all endurance and patience accompanied by JOY,
- We will give thanks to the Father (continually),
- We are qualified to share in the inheritance in the kingdom of light (Jesus’ kingdom),
- We have been delivered by God the Father from the domain of darkness and have been transferred to the kingdom of the beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Today, let’s begin something new. It’s not a new idea, but one that needs to be borne out as new every day. Let’s live our lives differently than we did yesterday: Let’s follow Christ more closely, listen more intently, shine more brightly, urge more insistently, love more completely, and long for His Coming more fervently. It’s not something we can do by ourselves; we MUST connect with Jesus via His Spirit. Connect right now!
Abba, I connect with You right now even as I type these words. May You cause me to bear fruit, increase in knowledge, strengthen me with Your power, and give me endurance and patience along with JOY. May I follow You, Jesus, more closely, listen more intently, shine more brightly, urge more insistently, love more completely, and long for Your Coming more fervently. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. Until that day, may I be Your light wherever You lead me. Amen.