And he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?’— Luke 9:23-24
For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.— 1 Peter 2:21-24
Following Jesus or walking as Jesus walked is clearly an important command that Jesus made of his disciples. But what does following Jesus entail?
Simply, it means that we will try to live our lives they way he lived his. His life was one of service to others and sacrifice and his purpose was to preach the good news about God’s coming kingdom and reach out to those who were struggling. While we may want to live up to these ideals, practically this can be difficult to envision. We live nearly 2000 years later in a vastly different looking world than the one that Jesus walked in.
The best way to figure out how to live like Jesus is to familiarize your self with what Jesus said and did when he was on earth. The accounts of Jesus life and teachings can be found in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Pick one of the gospels to start. Read through and pay close attention to what Jesus says and what Jesus does. Think about the motivations for Jesus’ actions and words. Further advice about how to practically live as Jesus lived can be found in Acts and the Epistles. A summary of some of the key aspects of how following Jesus will affect daily life (based on verses from the Gospels, Acts, and the Epistles) is given below.
How should following Jesus affect my… relationships with others?
- I should serve others in love without harboring resentment or complaining
- I should be ready to forgive any offence against me
- I should not make distinctions between people based on race or class
- I should make friends that encourage me in my efforts to follow Jesus
- If I am a husband, I should be kind, considerate and loving to my wife
- If I am a wife, I should love and encourage my husband in his role as head of the family
- If I am a parent, I should teach my children to follow Jesus at every opportunity
- If I am a son or daughter, I should honor and respect my parents
- If I am an employer, I should be kind, just and considerate towards my employees
- If I am an employee, I should give faithful service to my employer
How should following Jesus affect my… general behavior?
- I should always be ready to share the gospel message with those who wish to hear
- I should keep my words truthful and avoid lying
- I should keep my words God honoring and free of mockery and crude language
- I should focus my thoughts on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, virtuous, and praiseworthy and chose entertainment that helps me do this
- I should keep the laws of my country faithfully (unless they contradict God’s commands)
- I should dress modestly
Following Jesus won’t be easy, in fact it’s going to be difficult. God called Jesus, and calls us, to a life of service… one that brings glory to him and looks forward to the day when the earth will be full of his glory.
Questions about why should we follow Jesus? Check out an earlier post on this topic!