Follow Me (Identity In Christ Series Part 23)

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True and False Disciples

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ “ Matthew 7:21-23.

Basically Jesus is saying, “I care about obedience.” He calls us to follow Him. We were chosen to do good works, to build God’s Kingdom, to be light in a dark world, to love God and love others, to be salt in earth, to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We were not chosen to do nothing. We are not loved because we serve God or do what He says. God loves us regardless of our behavior. However, Jesus tells us, “If we love God, we will do what He asks (John 14:15).

Moving into full submission and obedience to God is the way of a disciple. We are no longer allowed to live as we please. Our lives are not our own but were purchased with the blood of Jesus. Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself? 1 Corinthians 6:19.

What does it mean to follow Jesus?

  1. Fall in love with the King. The first step is love, to receive God’s love for us. We can only give away what we possess. There are people trying to find their identity in serving, but the motivation is to gain love from God instead of overflowing with love for God. Or serving is a means to feel good about oneself instead of to honor the King. When we allow God to love us and fall in the love with Him, doing what Jesus did comes naturally. No one has to beg us to do anything, we run to volunteer because love is a better motivator than fear.
  2. Do what Jesus did. As Christians we are called to obey God- it isn’t optional. Jesus never said, “Live how you want and I will bless you.” He said, “Deny yourself, pick up your cross and follow Me (Luke 9:23).” Jesus only did what He saw the Father doing. He lived a life of sacrificial love. We cannot claim to love God and there be no evidence of sacrifice in our lives.If we did not tell people we were a Christian, would they know by our behavior? Would there be enough evidence to convict us if we were on trial for being a Christian?
  3. Jesus demonstrated the Kingdom and love for people. He fed the hungry, healed the sick, raised the dead, cleansed the lepers, preached the Gospel, made disciples, loved and served people. We are called to follow Him, meaning do what we see Him doing. We can only do as He did by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Examples from life:

I asked someone I care deeply for to help me with something that they are fully able to do, their response was, “God please send someone to help Erin with this.” This person was asked to help, could help, offered prayer, and walked on by. This year I was in a car accident that totaled my car and 3 people in my family died within 3 weeks, all around the time of my accident. There were only a few people who offered to help and one person who sent a card.  Some people I told who were believers did not even offer prayer. I had a woman in community once tell me I needed to get my needs met elsewhere because I was there to serve others.  I don’t say these things to say, “Poor me.” I am blessed and can’t complain. God met my needs through random strangers at times. Some of the people he sent to help were atheist or other non-believers.

There are people screaming for significance, titles, or leadership roles, yet they are unwilling to serve anyone. They want the applause, not sacrificial love. I say these things because when we don’t do what Jesus did, we are missing out on opportunities to bring and build the Kingdom. How many times do we ask God to do something we can do? I believe many times when we are screaming to God, “Do something!” He is responding, “I called and empowered you to do something.” God is looking for people who love Him more than they love anything or anyone else. People willing to serve without being asked. He is calling all His children to be His hands, feet, and mouth to the world. He says, “Follow Me!

I love the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). People saw a wounded person and kept on going. The Good Samaritan stopped for the one. LOVE looks like something and we are all called to love. No Christian get’s a “I don’t have to do this,” card. It is a requirement for following Jesus.

Dear sweet friends, the world needs us to be a Light. We can’t pray for God to send someone else when we can do something. The Holy Spirit in us is the most powerful Being in the world. We have all we need to change the world! God chose me, and He chose you! We can’t do everything, but we can do something. We can be Spirit led and live a life of Kingdom building. He said the greatest amongst us would be the servant of all (Matthew 20:26). We can’t ask God for more influence or to change the world if we are unwilling to be a servant or better yet His friend, partner, and co-laborer. In God’s Kingdom, the leader is the one given the greatest capacity for sacrifice. Love is expensive and costly and we are all called to love.

I encourage you to serve without being asked, to give sacrificially expecting nothing in return, to find out who has needs around you and meet those needs if you can, to look out a window instead of in the mirror. I leave you with the words of Jesus.

Matthew 25:31-46

New International Version (NIV)

The Sheep and the Goats

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.

“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

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