FULLY FOLLOWING CHRIST Friends, for years I got this wrong. I was really following myself, but giving the appearance of following Christ. And it resulted in failure after failure, in the deepest possible ways. For example, my marriage was a failure. On the outside, it...
FULLY FOLLOWING CHRIST
Friends, for years I got this wrong. I was really following myself, but giving the appearance of following Christ. And it resulted in failure after failure, in the deepest possible ways.
For example, my marriage was a failure. On the outside, it looked like a success. But on the inside, in was broken to the core. Why? Because I was choosing to follow the parts of the Bible that suited me. Not what Christ had for me to follow. I was not “listening” to Christ, was not “sitting” with Christ daily in order to “listen”, and was not “fully” following God’s plan for me.
“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:21 NIV) This is the verse I should have been concentrating on, and should have gotten this right before moving to the “to the wives” or “to the husbands” sections of Ephesians. Likewise, in 1 Peter, Chapter 3, instead of reading my “wife’s part”, I should have read mine: “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” (1 Peter 3:7 NIV) Hence, my prayers were “hindered” and I put the brakes on the Holy Spirit being able to “fully” lead me.
I find it is relatively easy to make the Bible say want we want it to say, “if” we take verses out of context, or just read the parts we “want” to read. I can’t do this, though, and expect my prayers to be answered. I must read and understand God’s Holy Word in context. For example, if I am going to be selective in what I read about marriage, it better be read and “fully follow” the part written for me. Otherwise, I am not handling God’s precious Word correctly, and that is sinful.
Dear child, I am pleased with you and your attitudes expressed here. Yes, you need to take my Scripture and apply it to your own life. Every true Christ-follower must do that. Trust me, and my Holy Spirit, to grow and develop your spouse, and lead her. To be the spiritual leader of your household, you must be a fully follower of my Way. That is the best spiritual leadership you can provide for your family.
Yes, Lord. I have heard it well said that a good leader is a good follower. Help me FULLY FOLLOW you.
All: We are all Christ-followers who read this daily devotional. But the question is this: “Are we ‘fully’ following Christ?”
My child, yes, what I want is my children to fully follow me. As for husbands, if they fully follow me, they are setting an example for their family, and that is the best form of spiritual leadership there is.
Yes, Lord. It is my actions that speak for me. How I follow you is critical. It is not what I say that counts , but it is what I do – the actions I take. Help me to take right actions, that are fully in line with your Holy Spirit.
SCRIPTURES THAT SUPPORT THIS BLOG POST
Friends, here are some scriptures that will bless you are you seek to fully follow Christ:
1. Followship of Christ: The concept of following Christ fully is seen in passages like:
• Matthew 16:24 (NIV): “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.'” This scripture emphasizes the full commitment required to follow Christ.
2. Leading by example: The Bible instructs us to lead by example, and the following verses show this principle:
• 1 Timothy 4:12 (NIV): “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” It reminds us that our actions should align with our faith and serve as an example to others.
• Philippians 2:15 (NIV): “so that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.” This scripture calls for a lifestyle that shines as an example amid a flawed world.
3. Respect and Consideration in Marriage: There are verses that speak to respect and considerate behavior in marriage:
• Colossians 3:19 (NIV): “Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.” This speaks to the behavior expected of husbands, emphasizing love and gentleness.
• Ephesians 4:32 (NIV): “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Although not marriage-specific, it sets a tone of kindness, compassion, and forgiveness in our interactions with others.
4. Spiritual Leadership: Scripture highlights the importance of spiritual leadership in a household:
• Joshua 24:15 (NIV): “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” This verse is often referenced when speaking of spiritual leadership within the home.
5. Right Handling of God’s Word:
• 2 Timothy 2:15 (NIV): “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” This verse emphasizes the importance of rightly understanding and applying God’s Word.
Dear children, closely follow me, and my Word, and you will be blessed and your prayers will not be hindered.
Yes, Lord. And as leaders, (or people like me – aspiring leaders) we get in the way of our leadership when we are not following you closely, right?
Child, when you follow me closely, you are stepping into the footprints left behind by my Son, Jesus Christ. Take up your cross daily, and follow Christ. Die to yourself. Live for me. In this way, you model a life of sacrifice, humility, and unconditional love. And as you traverse this path, remember, it’s not about perfection, but about the pursuit of a holy life, modeled after my Son. Through this journey, you’ll find an abundance of grace, joy, and peace. This is the true meaning of full discipleship, a journey that reflects your dedication to me and the footsteps of my Son.
Father God, what scriptures support this?
1. Following Christ’s Example:
• 1 Peter 2:21 (NIV): “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.”
2. Taking up the Cross and Following Christ:
• Luke 9:23 (NIV): “Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.'”
3. Dying to Self:
• Galatians 2:20 (NIV): “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
4. Living for God:
• Romans 14:8 (NIV): “If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.”
5. Modeling a Life of Sacrifice, Humility, and Unconditional Love:
• Philippians 2:5 (NIV): “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.”
6. Pursuit of a Holy Life:
• 1 Peter 1:16 (NIV): “For it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.'”
PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION
Father God, thank you that this is a process, and it is not about perfection. I like this idea of the “PURSUIT” of a holy life, modeled after your Son, Jesus Christ. Thank you for Him, and the redemption we have through Him. Thank you for saving me, and adopting me into your Kingdom. You are Abba. Father. My one true Father, who loves me unconditionally. Thank you for that love. May I pursue you above all else in this life, that I may please you, honor you, and glorify your Holy Name. Amen.
All: May we pursue Christ with more energy and passion than we pursue anything else in this life. Everything else we pursue will come up short of filling the God-shaped hole inside of us. Nothing, but nothing, will every truly fulfill us. All the money, power, pleasure, or anything else we pursue will always leave us wanting more. It is only closely following Christ that will ever satisfy the deep ache in our souls. May we all aspire to follow Him who is above all things, who truly satisfies. God is our one true Father, through Christ our Lord and the power of His Holy Spirit. Amen.
Your aspiring servant,
11 July 2023
POSTSCRIPT: Dear friends, if this daily, transparent conversation with God blesses you, please go to www.SOLIDpastors.org, where you will find these posted, and a repository of all, in English and Spanish. If you ever want to chat, you can reach me at Daniel@SOLIDpastors.org. May Christ bless you richly as you have your own intimate, daily Conversations with Christ.