They will know we are Christians by our T-shirts. Or, if you’re a child of the 80’s, by our bumper stickers. Or in the last 15 months, by demonstrations for freedom from COVID restrictions. T’s, stickers and protests are a far cry from what Jesus had to say to his followers.
What do followers of Jesus look like in 2021?
Five Characteristics of Jesus Followers
1. Commitment to Jesus
A follower of Jesus isn’t someone who knows all the answers or has their life totally under control. They are Jesus people. Jesus is everything. He is Savior and Lord which means followers of Jesus are people who are constantly revising their affairs to carry through on their decision to love like Jesus loved. The words of Jesus are respected as commands not suggestions.
Jesus said, “As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13;34, 25
If church people can recite Bible verses and know all kinds of trivia but do not demonstrate a growing concern for others, we have missed the mark. (a la 1 Cor. 13) Nothing is more fundamental to the Christian life than this (ask Jesus).
The measure of love for God is the level of concern for others. When we are growing in compassion we are motivated to respect and care for others. Fear and prejudice arise from ignorance. Compassion grows with truth and understanding.
The foundational competency of a disciple is learning to hear and respond to Jesus. A disciple asks, “What is Jesus saying? How is He getting my attention? What am I doing about it?”
“What would Jesus do” is more than a popular saying on a wristband. Studying the life of Jesus in the New Testament, obeying his commands, and living with integrity align a follower with wisdom.
Some Christians have got it in their heads that following Jesus makes us spontaneous, unreliable and unpredictable. They attach irresponsible or irrational behavior to the leading of the Holy Spirit. They seem driven more by emotions than by wisdom (see Proverbs 8).
The New Testament shows one of the results of the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives is “self-control.”
The mature disciple embraces emotion but isn’t controlled by emotions. The self-controlled disciple is not a slave to whims, trends, or hype. “God has not given us a spirit of fear or timidity but of power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
Confidence comes from knowing who you are. Jesus knew who he was, what his purpose was, and where he was going. He lived with God’s assurance, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:17
Those words were spoken over Jesus BEFORE he did anything. A follower of Jesus is confident in God’s unconditional love and unearned favor. Praying is a dialog. Claiming, not pleading, characterizes a follower’s prayers.
Building Godly Character
These five elements are part of building godly character that will carry forward through out life. They reflect a vital relationship with Jesus, family, the church and community.
What do you think? Please leave a comment at the bottom of this post.
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