What Does the Bible Say About Followers?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, September 10, 2018 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

Last week I wrote on what the Bible says about leaders, so to follow that up (pun intended), this week I’m writing on what the Bible says about followers.

Really, the whole Bible is about followers. From the very beginning, humans were created to be in fellowship with God and to be obedient to what God calls us to do. That got a lot more difficult after sin entered the world, of course. Humans were also created with free will, which we used to disobey God and not follow His ways. We’re all following something, but the question is what or who are we following?

If we claim to be Christians, then we should be following Jesus Christ. This is also known as being His disciples, which you can read more about here. There are many passages that detail what that looks like, so I’ll highlight a few of them here.

“As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, 'I will follow you wherever you go.'
Jesus replied, 'Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.'
He said to another man, 'Follow me.'
But he replied, 'Lord, first let me go and bury my father.'
Jesus said to him, 'Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.'
Still another said, 'I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.'
Jesus replied, 'No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God’” (Luke 9:57-62)

“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

“If anyone comes to me [Jesus] and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26-27).

“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’” (John 8:31-32).

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it’” (Matthew 16:24-25).

From these passages, it’s pretty clear that being a follower of Jesus is not necessarily easy. But making the easy choice to follow the world is generally not the best choice in light of eternity, as Jesus taught in Matthew 7:13-14: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

We can learn more about being a follower of Jesus by looking at His first followers and the writings they have left us, including Paul’s letters. Paul himself was a great example of a follower of Jesus. As he wrote in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” We should all strive to follow the example of Christ, but we can use other people as examples as well.

But it is important that we are ultimately following only Christ, even as we use others as examples of how to do that. As Paul wrote in Philippians 3:7-9, “But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.”

Who or what are you following in this life?

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