Throughout this country there are many who would confess to being an authentic follower of Jesus. Christians who have a faith. Churchgoers who attend regularly. Scholars who have incredible knowledge. Men and women who have been Christians for decades.
But what is the true hallmark of someone who is truly an authentic follower of Jesus?
Jesus told us that love was the most important thing; we are to love God and to love others. In fact He declared that the thing that would be like a beacon of light to the world illuminating the fact that we were His disciples was the way that we loved.
So, how do we show that we love Him? He said that His love language was to be obedient to His commands. That’s the true test of whether we are an authentic and mature follower of His. Not how much we know. Not our position in church. Not how long we have been a Christian. But how well we obey His commands. Of course the foremost of these commands is to love God and others.
I think that in developed countries we have got this so wrong so often. We think that an authentic disciple of Jesus is someone who knows the teaching of the bible and doctrine. And so we put on classes that teach and teach and teach. Some aren’t interested in learning these lessons, whilst some become perpetual students thirsting for that extra knowledge that they see that they need. I’m a big fan of gaining knowledge, but there has to be more to it than that.
Jesus didn’t say that it was knowledge that made a disciple; an authentic follower of His. He said:
“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 28:19,20 (NIV)
According to Jesus’ definition, a disciple is someone who does three things:
- is baptised,
- obeys His commands, &
- makes other disciples.
So, as an authentic follower of Jesus, how are we doing with these three things, all of which involve obeying His commands?
Have you ever stopped to think that if we aren’t obeying what Jesus commands, then we can’t be following Him? Unfortunately that’s a paradigm shift for many in our country. Many think that if we believe in Jesus, are connected to a church and engage in corporate worship, then we are an authentic follower. The trouble is that this isn’t Jesus’ criteria and He warns us about this like in Matthew 7.
So straight from His lips, the ones who respond to be His followers will also become His fishers of people. So if we are authentic followers we will also be fishers. That’s got to be challenging to many, because as I look around our country, I come across many who claim to be followers, but not many who are actively fishing.
I think that there are a few reasons for this, including:
- We often let people think that fishing is an optional thing, or it’s just for the “evangelists” amongst us. The bible doesn’t actually teach this.
- We have been happy to pass the responsibility that goes with being a disciple onto the church so that we want to go to a soul winning church rather than being the soul winners and witnesses that we are commanded to be.
- We get taught about what to do, but not trained in how to do it. And so we say “I tried it but it didnt work” and so we give up. If we want to get good at something, it takes training and practice, training and practice, training and practice. Dallas Willard once said that most people over estimate what they can do through trying and underestimate what can be done through training. Trying without training sets people up for failure, disillusionment and giving up. Training and practice can help us succeed and become effective fishers of people.
Around the world at present there are incredible stories of millions of people coming to faith as they embrace what it is to become an authentic follower of Jesus who is also an effective fisher of people. We can be like that. Jesus hasn’t lied or mislead us by giving us an impossible task!
The Following Jesus one day workshop has helped many to discover paradigm shifts that go to the heart of what it is to be a disciple; an authentic follower of Jesus. It will also give followers the skills to become effective fishers so that through training and practice, we can be used by God to see others come to faith and become disciples in a way that is natural and not forced.
If Christians across our country followed Jesus as He instructed, our nation would be transformed. Come to the Following Jesus workshop and be amazed at how the principle that Jesus taught can transform your walk with Him and your fun and fruit in being a fisher of people.
Come to the Following Jesus workshop at the next opportunity. You’ll be glad that you did!
You can register for this event by clicking here Following Jesus Workshop Registration