What does it mean, today, to follow Jesus Christ? It is easy for us to understand what it meant for the disciples, but today we cannot see him nor hear him, can we?
In the past, there was a substantial movement of Christian believers that formed the idea of WWJD (What Would Jesus Do). Were they right in their idea? On the surface, that method seems right, but I think that there is a problem with it. Not being Jesus, it is doubtful that we would know what Jesus would do, and as someone recently pointed out to me, we get ourselves into places that Jesus would never have gotten himself into.
I do not have faith in myself. Do you have faith in yourself? I have faith in Jesus Christ. There is not the slightest doubt in my mind that Jesus will always do the right thing, and if I am following him, he will always lead me to the right path. If only I could see and hear Jesus more clearly.
Do you know that, for the most part, the disciples did not understand what Jesus was saying when he was saying it? It’s true. Mostly they were clueless. You should carefully read John 6:25-69. This passage in John gives details about how Jesus told the crowd who was listening to him that they must eat his flesh and drink his blood. The crowd boldly rejected Jesus because of his “crazy” words. I just love Jesus’ response to that. He doesn’t try to keep them from leaving him. Instead, he turned to the Twelve and asked, “You do not want to leave too, do you?” (John 6:67—NIV84). Then Peter, who represents you (if you believe in Jesus Christ), answers, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68—NIV84)
You see, my friend, Peter, had complete faith in Jesus Christ. He did not understand any of what Jesus was saying about eating his flesh and drinking his blood, but he believed that those words were right, because he believed in Jesus.
He [Jesus Christ] also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. 28 All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. 29 As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” (NIV84)
You, my brothers and sisters, are the farmers that must plant the seeds of the Word of God into your hearts. You are like Peter above who did not know what the Lord meant but kept on planting anyway because he believed that the seeds were ultimately divine. If you plant divine seeds into your heart, you will reap a harvest of closeness to God. As you continue to plant, God causes the seeds first to sprout, then develop into stalks, and finally, when the time is right, to produce the desired kernel. You do not make the seeds grow, that is, you do not come to understand the words by the power of your own mind. You don’t have the power to do so. All such power comes from God and will always come from God. All you have to do is be a faithful farmer of the Word and plant the seeds in expectation.
John 1:1–5, 14
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning.
3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (NIV84)
Jesus Christ is the Word. If you want to see God, then look for him in the Scriptures. And, when I say Scriptures, I mean all of the Scriptures, not just the New Testament. Disciple yourself to the Bible, as the disciples did to Jesus Christ. When Jesus says, “come, follow me,” he means that you do so through the words of the Bible.
I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. (emphasis mine—NIV84)
Jesus Christ and the Word of God are one and the same person. Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God, and so are the Scriptures. The Bible is a supernatural revelation of God, just as Jesus was two thousand years ago (think virgin birth). If you want to be a disciple of Jesus Christ today, you must follow him in the Scriptures. What that means is that you must open your heart, and like a faithful farmer, plant the whole, unadulterated Word, into your believing heart, expecting God to make it grow. This does not mean that you put doctrine into your heart. Doctrine is like highly processed food that has had most of the gritty nutrients removed and had sugar added to make it taste better. Doctrine is like baby-food. You feed it to babies and little children to show them a simplified picture of the big picture, but it must not be fed to the adults.
Most church services serve only baby food. The congregation is served up a tasty bit designed to make them feel good, and off they go. This includes the congregational Bible studies too. Everyone just sits there and lets someone else spoon feed them until the day they die. You are your own spiritual farmer. Plant whatever seeds God gives you while reading the Bible and wait in faith for those seeds to sprout.
Some years ago, I read something about how the Society of Friends of four hundred years ago conducted their meetings, and I was very impressed. Each member of the congregation would read daily from the Holy Bible as they had the time, and then on Sunday, they would meet together. Then everyone was encouraged to pass on to the congregation whatever revelation they had received from God during the past week. This is how things should work. This is really the only way that things can work. Jesus Christ is your Teacher, not your Pastor or some person that has written some book or other.
You have an obligation to follow Jesus Christ yourself personally. You read the Bible yourself, and then God does his part by quickening it into life within your heart. When you read the Bible, open your heart and look for what exactly it is really saying. I don’t care if what you see differs from the doctrine that you have been taught. God will open into your heart to what he wants you to see. This is personal. This is between yourself and your Maker. You, my friend, if you believe in Jesus Christ, are a priest of God. You. Not some other person. God wants to speak to you and fill you with the knowledge of Himself.
This, like most everything else in the world, is not so perfectly cut and dried. There are always some subtle aspects to everything. In this case, it is difficult sometimes to separate what God is revealing to you personally and what you just want to believe on your own. This is why it is helpful for most people to discuss what they see in the Scriptures with other people. I am not saying to just abandon what you see because someone else tells you that you are wrong, but instead listen to them, and listen to your heart, and see if they might be right.
First and foremost, a Christian must be honest with him or herself. Self-honesty and selflessness are two critical characteristics that you must have. Pride is the number one enemy. Pride is far more deadly than the espionage agent’s cyanide capsule. Pride can kill you eternally dead. When you humble yourself and read the Scriptures, and then God reveals something to you, it is easy to get puffed up, thinking that you are somehow special.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! (NIV84)
It is an exciting and wondrous thing to receive revelation from God, but always keep yourself humble, remembering all of the stupid things you have done, and have thought. Whatever good there may be in you, you have received it from God and has nothing to do with you alone. As you get yourself out of the way, God then can shine through you.
Always keep your relationship with the Almighty alive. Continuously plant new Word-of-God-seeds into your heart and let them change what you think. If you have been born-again, then you are alive. All living things grow. If you are not growing, then you are either dead or dying. Even if you have been in a spiritual coma for thirty or forty years, God will raise you up if you will just faithfully plant the Word of God into your heart in expectation.
It is long past time to leave childish ways behind.
Pass this on to others, for we live in dangerous times. The devil is now so bold that he is shouting his lies, and people are eating it up. Take care.