“And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe.” – 1 Thessalonians 1:6-7
Church, with all my heart and the greatest respect of love, some of you need to move from being believers into being followers.
To be followers of Jesus is an entirely different thing than just being a believer. It’s to become a disciple, to go into all the world and make disciples who are committed followers of Jesus, not just believers. The Bible tells us in James 2:19 that even the demons believe and tremble, but we must go beyond believing into following.
Do you remember all the stories that Jesus would tell about this? He would say, “Come and follow me.” And some guy would come up with the lame excuse like, “Well, I’ve got these oxen that I’ve got to go test drive first. Can I go back and say bye to my folks? Can I go do this and do that? I’ve got business to attend to.”
And for Jesus, the excuses were never anything more than that. He kept on moving while people found reasons to not follow Him. Jesus even rejected the excuse of disciples pointing to other disciples saying, “Hey what about him? What if he kind of…” and Jesus looks and says, “Forget about him. You follow me.”
They became followers of us. They became followers of Christ.
Let me tell you one of the absolute hardest things about pastoring a congregation that God has given me. In the neck of the woods where our church is, everybody wants to lead. Nobody, and I mean nobody, in these parts wants to follow.
I don’t know if it’s that authority thing or that success thing or some other thing, but I’ll tell you something I do know. Make sure you’re following Christ, because if you don’t follow Christ, you’re not going to get to heaven.
You are not going to get there on your own. You need to follow. You need to sacrificially follow Christ; and that is the biggest difference, I think, between believers and followers—sacrifice.
You see, the disciples left their nets and followed Jesus. Paul counted his life as already lost for Christ’s sake. They were followers who were willing to give their all. They weren’t just believers, waiting on their hands, thinking that their ticket to heaven was somehow already punched.
Are you willing to give your all today? Or are you just a believer?
I’m so sorry for just living my life as a believer. I want to grow beyond that today. I want to be a follower. My life is Yours today! Please come and fill me so that I have the courage to follow You wherever You lead!