Here's a link to a Christian resource I wrote called, What Does It Mean To Follow Christ? Practical answers for people who really want to know. (Readable on Kindle app or readers.)
As I sit in a small Starbucks at Camp Casey, South Korea I hope and pray this booklet falls into the hands of people who truly want to know what it means to follow Christ. This resource is written not for theologians or seminary students, but for the everyday person, many of who somehow know there’s more to life than they are experiencing. I have three groups of people in mind: 1) Those who have never truly followed Christ but are exploring what that means, 2) Those who are believers in Christ but know they need to up their spiritual game, and 3) Those who once proactively followed Christ, but have lost ground over time. Most likely you can easily identify if you’re in one of those groups.
Allow me to briefly provide my personal motivation for this writing. For a long time I have listened to sermons and read materials of great Christian leaders, often getting excited about what they had to share. But I have felt for months, if not years, that I needed my own message, something that burned from my own heart. Since there are literally thousands of Christian resources available, anything other than that would be no more than a reproduction of what is already available. While spending time overseas, I finally feel a message stirring within me. It’s not a new subject. No doubt one could read hundreds of books about the subject of discipleship. However, the only resource I consulted for this project was the Bible. No commentaries, no dictionaries, and no one else’s work. For me, it had to be that way to remain authentic. I pray that through it you will grow closer to God. If this falls into even a few people’s hands and makes an impact for God, it will be more than worth the effort.
Imagine with me a horizontal spectrum with five separate categories of people, each differing in how they relate to Christ. Let’s begin with one extreme and move toward the other. The far-left side represents people who utterly hate the things of Christ. We might simply refer to them as “God Fighters.” That’s right, they hate the Bible, Christians, churches, and anything that promotes the one true God. It’s more than an emotional feeling. These people go on the offensive against Christ. They publish anti-Christian articles and books, push anti-Christian legislation, and see it as their life’s mission to attack the things of God. This group is not numerically large compared to some of the other groups, but their influence is staggering.
Moving toward the right to the next category, we find “God’s Fault Finders.” They don’t exactly go on the aggressive against Christ or Christians, but they are quite cynical and annoyed by faith in God. Every act of evil and suffering gives them more proof that God either doesn’t exist or doesn’t care. Things they have learned or experienced have hardened their hearts toward the things of God. Many in this group roll their eyes at outdated biblical values and believe churches have hidden agendas, most which have to do with control and money. They are just fine with their lives and have no interest in entertaining ideas or conversations about following Christ.
In the middle of our imaginary spectrum we find the neutral group, which I call “God’s Friendly Neighbors.” They have neither negative nor positive things to say about Christ. Many see all religions as valuable ways to experience God. Some have placed the popular COEXIST bumper sticker on their car. This group doesn’t have a problem with the things of God or people who follow Christ. They simply live on one side of the fence while Christians live on another side. They don’t bother anyone and expect the same treatment.
Moving right again we find “God’s Fan Club.” This group is truly interested in the things of God. They read Scripture and find it a fascinating piece of literature. Many regularly go to church to get inspired, connect with friends, and even to serve. You might even find a cross or inspirational Scripture verse hung in their house. They think of themselves as good people and even identify as Christians. However, the things of God are simply one of their many priorities, just one of the displays on the mantle of their life.
Finally, on the far right of the spectrum, we find the true “Followers of Christ.” This is perhaps the smallest of the groups, as we will see from Scripture. However, these are the authentic, wholehearted, passionate, no-turning-back lovers and followers of Christ. They are far from perfect, and no one knows that better than they do. Even so, they have counted the cost and will not look back. Life’s trials will not coerce them to walk away from God, rather pain and suffering propel them even more toward Him. People in this group have heard God’s call, strive to obey Him, and build their house on the Rock. They don’t just live their lives for Christ, they live with Him.
In the pages that follow I have given practical examples of what followers of Christ look like. Most likely none of us measure up to all of them, but we strive toward maturity with God’s help. This list could easily double or triple in size. These simply reflect issues which stood out to me as I searched the Scriptures. Use this booklet by yourself or with a group. Except for the first one, you need not read them in order. Each of us is on a different spiritual journey; no two look the same. So it does not matter the order which you read. I encourage you to skim the contents to see which sections leap out at you. But again, read number one as you begin. It has to do with hearing the call. If you are reading this, then quite possibly you have already begun the journey.