When we chose to be a follower of Jesus we did so because God woke us to His presence. When Jesus invited the Apostles and others to follow Him, most had already known about God. They went to the temple, heard scripture, read and participated in the religious ceremonies. They, however, did not know Jesus or what he was going to share.
When each was chosen Jesus did not say “Look into my eye, look deeper … when I snap my finger you will understand, have faith and wisdom”.
No! He said: “follow me” and they did.
For three years many walked with Jesus daily, listened to Him talk about God, heard Him read scripture and explain it, watched Him perform miracles, and saw how he interacted with all parts of society, including the disenfranchised and the sinner. The daily life of Jesus’ initial followers involved a lot of listening, watching and doing and that has not changed for present-day followers.
Just because we made a declaration that Jesus will be our Lord and we want to follow Him, does not mean our lives will be different. Just like the apostles, we need to learn what Jesus said and apply it to our own lives. We need to learn to live a similar life to the apostles and the early church and those we can recognize as true followers. We need to incorporate Jesus’ teaching into our daily life.
The prophet Micah made a very simple statement about God’s behavioural expectation to the Kings of Israel and the King of Judah. “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8b NIV). The people of his time were living terrible lives, ignoring God and making choices that took them further and further away from God. Despite being familiar with God’s expectations, even before Micah arrived on the scene, they had become self-focused, and the rulers were evil and cruel to their own people. They chose not to live with God daily. Micah warned them they would be punished and in fact, he was around to see and record the destruction of Judah and Israel. Micah promised that they would be saved if they changed their ways because God does not abandon us.
How may we act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God?
Consider adopting these tips:
- Read your Bible daily. Do not be content to skim through a chapter merely to satisfy your conscience. Hide the Word of God in your heart. It comforts, guides, corrects, encourages – all we need is there.
- Learn the secret of prayer. Prayer is communicating. Every prayer that you pray will be answered. Sometimes that answer may be “Yes” and sometimes “No”, and sometimes it is “Wait”, but nevertheless it will be answered.
- Rely constantly on the Holy Spirit. We know that the Holy Spirit prays for us (Romans 8), and what a comfort that should be to the weakest of us. Stand aside and let Him take over all the choices and decisions of your life.
- Attend church regularly. The visible church is Christ’s organization upon the earth. Christians need one another, we need to gather together to worship God and nothing can take the place of church attendance.
- Be a witnessing Christian. We witness in two ways: by life and by word – and the two, where possible, should go hand in hand.
- Let love be the ruling principle of your life. Jesus said to those who followed Him, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35). The greatest demonstration of the fact that we are Christians is that we love one another.
- Be an obedient Christian. Let Christ have first place in all the choices of your life.
- Learn how to meet temptation. Temptation is not sin. It is yielding that is sin. Let Christ through the Holy Spirit do the fighting for you.
- Be a wholesome Christian. Our lives and appearance should commend the Gospel and make it attractive to others.
- Live above your circumstances. Don’t let your circumstances get you down. Learn to live graciously within them, realizing the Lord Himself is with you.