Following ChristWhat does it mean to be a Christ follower?
The Beginning of the Journey:
Our faith journey begins the moment we open our hearts and receive Jesus Christ as our savior. This happens when we embrace these simple, but profound truths:
- “Heavenly Father, I acknowledge that, like every other human being, I am a sinner and my sin has broken the relationship between you and me.”
- “Jesus, I believe you died on the cross, and you rose again. Your death paid the penalty for my sin, making it possible for me to be forgiven and restored.”
- “Today Lord Jesus, I accept this free gift of forgiveness and I celebrate that I am now your child and part of your forever family.”
- “I believe you desire the very best for me, and from this point forward, my desire is to live a life that honors and pleases you.”
The Bible clearly teaches that once we have made this personal decision to follow Jesus, we are to affirm our commitment through baptism. The word baptism means literally “to be immersed into”. When we are baptized, we are saying publically that we are identifying ourselves as a follower of Jesus. The act of going down into the water symbolizes his death and burial. As we come up out of the water we are declaring to all those present that the same resurrection power that brought Jesus Christ back from the dead is at work in us today.
Our life in Christ is a journey. Like any journey, there are peaks and valleys, successes and failures. But, as we move forward, we become more and more like Jesus, both in terms of our thinking and our actions. As a follower of Jesus, our lives will be marked by the following qualities and characteristics:
- Regular and consistent time in God’s Word. The Bible is God’s inspired, inerrant Word. It is given to us to reveal his will for our lives, and his heart for this world. As we grow as a follower of Christ, there is an increased desire and commitment to be in the Word daily. We come to understand his will and we respond in obedience.
- Worship. Our ultimate purpose in life is to bring glory to God, and we do that when we offer up to him the praise and adoration that is rightfully his. We do this in our personal times of reflection and meditation, and we do this when we come together with other believers to celebrate who God is and what he has done for us.
- Commitment to Prayer. As we mature and grow as a follower of Jesus, there is an increased commitment to meaningful prayer. Prayer is a dialogue with our Heavenly Father. Our times of prayer include praise and worship as well as sharing our concerns and desires. We also learn to recognize his voice as he speaks to us in the quiet moments.
- Authentic community with other Christ-followers. As followers of Jesus, we are part of his forever family. We will be in community with other believers. We will find a small group of people that we connect with and care about. We will care for each other, come alongside each other, and call out the very best in each other as we do life together.
- Meaningful service. We find meaning and purpose when we use our God-given talents and abilities in a way that makes a difference. We need each other, and the Church is the most effective when every Christ-follower is serving in a way that maximizes their gifting and aligns with their passion.
- Faithful Stewardship. As we grow and mature as a follower of Jesus, we come to understand that everything we have ultimately belongs to our Heavenly Father. Our finances, material possessions, an even our time are resources that can be leveraged in a way that makes a difference for the Kingdom. We learn to hold things loosely and to give generously and joyfully.
- Sharing Our Story. As we become more like Jesus, we begin to see the world through his eyes. We care deeply about those who have yet to experience the love of Jesus for themselves. When the time is right, we gladly share our faith story. We are able to share with confidence and explain who Jesus Christ is and what it means to have a relationship with him.
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