What Does It Look Like for a Christian to Follow Jesus?

A. W. Tozer
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We are always in danger of falling victim to words. An unctuous phrase may easily take the place of spiritual reality. One example is the expression “Following the Lord” so often used among Christians. We overlook the fact that this cannot be taken literally. We cannot now, as those first disciples could, follow the Master over a given geographical area. We tend to think of it literally but at the same time feel its literal impossibility, with the result that it has come to mean little more than a nodded agreement to the truths of Christianity. It may startle us to learn that following is a New Testament word used to cover the idea of an established habit of obedience to the commandments of Christ.

Produce Fruit

Look at the fruits of obedience as described in the New Testament: The house of the obedient man is built upon a rock (Matthew 7:24). He shall be loved by the Father and shall have the manifestation of the Father and the Son, who will come unto him and make their abode with him (John 14:21, 23). He shall abide in the love of Christ (John 15:10). By obedience to the doctrines of Christ he is set free from sin and made a servant of righteousness (Romans 6:17–18). The Holy Spirit is given to him (Acts 5:32). He is delivered from self-deception and blessed in his deeds (James 1:22–25). His faith is perfected (James 2:22). He is confirmed in his assurance toward God and given confidence in prayer, so that what he asks is given to him (1 John 3:18–22).

God is ready to send down floods of blessing upon us as we begin to obey His plain instructions.

These are only a few among the many verses that may be cited from the New Testament. But more to the point than any number of proof texts is the fact that the whole drift of the New Testament is in that direction. One or two texts might be misunderstood, but there is no mistaking the whole tenor of Scripture.

Practical Implications of Faith in Everyday Life

What does all this add up to? What are its practical implications for us today? Just that the power of God is at our disposal, waiting for us to call it into action by meeting the conditions which are plainly laid down. God is ready to send down floods of blessing upon us as we begin to obey His plain instructions. We need no new doctrine, no new movement, no “key,” no imported evangelist or expensive “course” to show us the way. It is before us as clear as a four-lane highway.

To any inquirer I would say, “Just do the next thing you know you should do to carry out the will of the Lord. If there is sin in your life, quit it instantly. Put away lying, gossiping, dishonesty, or whatever your sin may be. Forsake worldly pleasures, extravagance in spending, vanity in dress, in your car, in your home. Get right with any person you may have wronged. Forgive everyone who may have wronged you. Begin to use your money to help the poor and advance the cause of Christ. Take up the cross and live sacrificially. Pray, attend the Lord’s services. Witness for Christ, not only when it is convenient but when you know you should. Look to no cost and fear no consequences. Study the Bible to learn the will of God and then do His will as you understand it. Start now by doing the next thing, and then go on from there.”

For Further Reading:

From the Grave

by A. W. Tozer

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book cover for From the Grave