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Following in His steps

 

For 2,000 years, people have responded to Jesus’ challenge to follow Him. His call continues to us today. God revealed Himself on earth in the person of Jesus, and He reveals himself to us today through the writings of those who were there. These New Testament writings in the Bible describe the experiences of those who encountered the living person, Jesus Christ.

As He did during His earthly life, the resurrected Jesus Christ invites us to walk down the road of a new life with God. “Whoever serves me must follow me,” said Jesus in John 12:26. Jesus told Peter and Andrew, “Come, follow me” as they were fishing in the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 4:19).

Jesus Christ walked up to Levi, a tax collector sitting in his booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him. We’re told, “Levi got up, left everything and followed Him” (Luke 5:27-28).

On another occasion, a man was drawn to Jesus, but did not want to follow him right away: “Lord, first let me go and bury my father,” he said. He wanted to follow Jesus, but on his own terms. Jesus wouldn’t accept any excuse. “Follow me,” He said, “and let the dead bury their own dead” (Matthew 8:21-22). Jesus was saying, don’t put off a commitment to me. Make it now. No excuses. Follow me, now.

The first disciples and followers of Jesus heard Him speak and saw His example. They could pattern their lives on His life, and in that way follow Him. Now, however, Jesus is more than simply with man as he was 2,000 years ago. Through the Holy Spirit, Christ now forms himself within those who believe in God and follow Him (John 14:17; Galatians 4:19).

The apostle Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). If we follow Jesus Christ, He enters our lives, recreating us as new men and women of God.

Jesus’ intent is that we be conformed to His death. Not necessarily in a literal sense. But anyone following Christ will be crucifying his or her own selfish desires. For us, the words “Follow me,” mean we die daily as temptations that lead us away from Christ are crucified. Ours is the daily sacrifice of our sinful nature on the cross of Christ (Romans 12:1).

In the process, we do more than follow Christ -- we become Christlike. That is, through God’s Holy Spirit, we are remolded and remade spiritually. We are reborn from above. If we live our lives by the faith of the Son of God in us (Galatians 2:20), then we are a new creation.

Those who lose their life by crucifying the flesh will be given eternal life. If we follow in Jesus’ footsteps now, we will also follow Him with our glorified bodies -- in the resurrection of life.

 
 
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