We live in a digital age, most things not all can be done with a click, a scroll or touch on some kind of digital device (watch, phone, laptops, pads, the list goes on). Social media has become a major part of this age and as such has a huge influence on most things that we do. Societal leaders, entertainers, individuals, businesses tend to have social media accounts in order to be able to reach people based on the impact the platform has on people. One social media platform I have very interesting is Instagram. Each user creates an account and is able to follow or be followed by others. Celebrities or other figures of society do not really follow others rather have others following their accounts to see, like and comment on their posts.
I want us to pause a bit and unravel this idea of following someone. On Instagram to follow someone you admire, like or wants to support a cause, all it takes is a click and you become a follower. Based on this easy process of becoming a follower of someone on Instagram, most people have quite a number of followers. Also, some people become very proud of the number of followers they have as this somehow reflects the influence they are making on their followers or how much they are liked by their followers.
Let’s talk about being a follower of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World. John Mark in his gospel, chapter 8 verse 34 reveals how one can become a follower of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me – Mark 8:34
Unlike Instagram, it does not take only click to become a follower of Jesus Christ. Here Jesus Christ reveals three key things one must do to become His follower.
Wait, what does it mean to be a follower of Jesus Christ?
To be a follower of Jesus Christ is not merely to like, comment and share Jesus Christ’s posts, on a social media platform (No my dear). It is living a life that imitates the truth, love, grace, all the virtues that are in Jesus Christ. It is living a life under the lordship and authority of Jesus Christ. It is accepting your true heritage as a child of the Almighty God and experiencing life as God ordained for you through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. It is living a godly life that is wholly set on obedience to God that God will be glorified in you. (In Short – You follow Jesus Christ with your life.)
Now, how can you follow Jesus?
It takes the following three things, seemingly not as easy as a click but very easy with the gracious help of the Spirit of God in our lives.
Deny yourself/ Give up your own way
This is where it gets very difficult for most of us. Jesus Christ shared this right after predicting his death. Already I can sense the fears, worry or even confusion among the crowd and the disciples. Asking people to give up their own way, is to also ask them to surrender their lives. It is a difficult thing to let go of something you have always known (a comfortable way of being and doing). But here is what Jesus Christ is really asking of us, is to “let go the old life and its sinfulness”. Yes, Beloved, it is a call to crucify the old self and its evil pleasures, to resist the sinful flesh that leads to sin and captivity. the life that easily entangles us and leads us into shame and guilt. Living in sin can become very comfortable and Jesus looks at us and reaches and pleads with us to give up that way of life which leads to eternal destruction for a life in Christ which leads to eternal life. For many it is hard because we do not know what God has reserved for us, we do not see what is to come so we just want to stay in our old life. I pray that the Spirit of God will open our eyes to see so that we will give up our old self and follow Jesus.
Take up the cross
The new life in Christ is not a bed of roses. It is a call to become co-workers in God’s service in the vineyard of God. The symbol of the cross stands for the opposition of the enemy we will face in our walk with Jesus Christ. We begin this journey taking the cross knowing that we will face trials, temptations, tests in an attempt to pull us into our old life but taking the cross is us saying we will go all the way with Jesus Christ. Taking the cross is saying we will trust in God amidst all difficulties knowing that there is going to be a resurrection after the crucifixion. Taking up the cross is a demonstration of your faith in God that God is faithful. Beloved, this is the good news we do not carry the cross alone, God is always with us.
Follow Jesus Christ
We take the cross and we follow in the steps of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 12:2). Jesus Christ went through exactly what He is calling you and me to do. We are to follow Jesus our Lord Jesus Christ as one who experienced it all, who endured the cross, despising the shame. Be humble, merciful, loving, compassionate, bearing the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). Following Jesus is to imitate Christ in all we are and do and by so doing, we follow Him who is the way, the truth, and the life.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, please let us follow Jesus Christ by living our lives to bear witness of who Jesus Christ is. It is my prayer that God will always help us to keep our hearts and minds in Christ that we will always follow Him. Be blessed Beloved in Christ and always remember that Jesus Christ loves you for He died that you may have life and have it more abundantly.