Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What Does It Look Like To Follow Christ?

This is a question I have been chewing on lately. I welcome your thoughts.

For most of my life I have assumed people knew I was a Christian.  The first clue would be that I went to church.  I also assumed the type of church I went to would give further evidence to the type of Christian I was.  Yes, hopefully there were some other clues. I didn't swear, smoke, drink or dance, or hang out much with those that did.  And, yes, hopefully there were some other positive clues as well...

But what if none of the above clues are really signs that I am following Christ?

To help answer this question, Imagine if your country closed down all the church buildings.  What would it look like then to follow Christ?  What does it look like to follow Christ in a country where there is no organized church to follow?  What did it look like to follow Christ for the first disciples of Christ in the New Testament?

Here are some initial thoughts, in no particular order:

Loving God -  Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. (Matt 22:37-38 NIV)

Loving Others -  "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34-35 NIV)

Fruit of Spirit - it seems when the Spirit is at work in us certain fruit will grow out of Christ in us. Things like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Gal 5:22-23)

Listening to His Voice and following it  - to be a follower of Jesus, it just makes sense we should know His voice and follow it. "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me" John 10:27 (NIV)

I suspect this could end up looking different for each of us.  Are there any other big 'clues' that I'm missing?  I'd love to hear your thoughts.


Steve Martin said...

I think that if someone were to follow me around with a camera and could also record my inner thoughts, for a one week period, they would assume that I am not really a Christian after all.

But thankfully it is not all those things that emanate from me that determine if I am a Christian or not, but what He has done for me.

So I believe. I go to church to hear the Word and receive His Supper. And every now and then I am able to speak to someone about my faith.

That's it.

Jonathan said...

Thanks for the comment Steve Martin, I'm not comfortable either with the idea of someone following me around, or listening to my inner thoughts. Except for God... I guess He does that and I can trust Him with being a good loving Father who understands me well.

Can I ask what your thoughts are about the fruit of the Spirit? How would you describe it?

If you were to make a guess at who else is following Christ, are there any clues you could look for?

Steve Martin said...


I would look to their confession of faith (do they say they believe), and also to their Baptism.

And even with those things, we cannot know.

Even atheists and Muslims can do "good works" (fruits) so I would not go there. And even with "good works", we cannot know the motivation, so that's another reason to not go there.

Bottom line is that I believe we give people the benefit of any doubt and we pray that the Lord will keep them in the promise of their Baptism.

Jonathan said...

Unfortunately many people say one thing and do another.

Can I ask what your thoughts are about the fruit of the Spirit? How would you describe them? What is the purpose behind these verses?

Jonathan said...

Do you see how a confession of faith, baptism, and going to church to partake in the Lords supper can also be considered 'works'?

Steve Martin said...


They are works that our Lord does ...for us.

He commanded that we do them. So He is in them.


Everyone says one thing and does another. That's one of the reasons that Jesus said, "All men are liars."

But in the things that He does for us, we can have true confidence in. The 'external Word'.

Jonathan said...

Thanks Steven. I think we agree. Here is how I worded my thoughts above on the fruit of the Spirit: "it seems when the Spirit is at work in us certain fruit will grow out of Christ in us. "

I agree it's not about us doing good works. It is simply the working of Christ's Spirit in us.

Steve Martin said...

You might enjoy this one, Jon:


It's not very long but some good points made in there.