Our lives will be better the more we follow Jesus. We know that and we say it, but it’s actually hard to put it into practice because the way of Jesus is totally different from the rest of the world. For the first people who followed Jesus, his disciples, he called them to a life radically different from what they were used to and to how everyone else lived. For us to do so, we’ll need some encouragement. This article lists things that were and are involved in following Jesus:
1. Jesus called his followers to service. Jesus’ whole worldview and approach to living was based on serving others, so much so that he gave his life for it. Worldly culture, though, says we should work hard to get more and more. But following Jesus means working hard to give more and more.
2. Jesus called for inclusive welcoming, not exclusion based on status. There is nobody who’s not good enough to join the kingdom of God. Jesus demonstrated that by including the strangest of people, outcasts who everyone else rejected. Worldly culture only accepts the best, while Jesus welcomes the least.
3. Jesus taught that the power of goodness–not of oppression–is the way to make and keep peace. He calls his followers to “be at peace with one another” (Mark 9:50) and said “blessed are the peacemakers” (Matt. 5:9). So let’s start peacemaking!
4. Jesus commanded the sharing of possessions in community, not self-indulgent prosperity. Again, we tend to want more for ourselves, but Jesus wants us to give more to others (Mark 10:17-22). The first Christians knew that, did it, and their community was overwhelmingly blessed (Acts 2:44-47). Are we willing to do it and be blessed too?
We say that we want to follow Jesus, and we call ourselves disciples of Christ, but if we really mean it, then we have to ask hard questions about how we live, to see if we are actually serious about following the way of Jesus. And if it feels hard to you, then join the club! It’s hard for everyone, so let’s encourage each other and hold each other accountable so that we can live radically by following Jesus.
How hard do you think it is, and how well do you think Christians today truly follow Jesus’ radical way?