Jesus sums up the Christian life with two simple words: Follow Me.
In the New Testament, I can only think of one person who was challenged to follow Him on an individual basis and refused. In Luke 18:18, a rich young man came to Jesus and asked, “‘Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’” When Jesus told the young man to sell everything he had, the man became sad as he was very wealthy and did not want to give everything up to follow Christ.
Most of the individual callings of Jesus to follow Him are met with enthusiasm—people left everything and followed Him.
So what does it look like to follow Jesus?
We have only one teaching from Paul where he talks about this specifically:
“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” -1 Corinthians 11:1
If I am to follow Jesus, and Paul is my model to follow Jesus, what does this look like? What are the circumstances and attitudes that Paul had when he followed Jesus?
First, we’ll look at his attitude. In 2 Corinthians, Paul writes:
“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.” -2 Corinthians 5:16
Paul is saying that no matter what their position, fame, or power, he saw everyone as either in Christ or out of Christ. No matter who they were—Nero, the slave in the prison cell next to him, a rich person, or a poor person—they needed Christ Jesus.
In Acts 24, Paul spoke to the governor named Felix, and he gave him the gospel. In Acts 25, he spoke to another governor by the name of Festus and gave him the gospel. In Acts 26, a king by the name of Agrippa showed up and threw a party for the leading men of the city. Paul got his chance again, and—you guessed it—he preached Christ’s resurrection. They told Paul he was out of his mind.
“I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” -1 Corinthians 9:23
Paul did the one thing that was dear to him. Everyone was either in Jesus or out of Jesus, and his passion was to tell those out of Christ how they could know Him.
In 1 Corinthians 2, Paul gave us some insight into his ability to speak. He didn’t think that he was a very effective communicator but pointed out that he saw God work when he was faithful to share the gospel regardless of the situation.
“For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.” –1 Corinthians 2:2-5
Now, let’s make it personal. The same Holy Spirit who was in Paul is in us. The same Jesus we are to make known is the Jesus that Paul told others about.
Will you pray with me that our Father will give us the same passion that our brother Paul had to make Christ’s love known? Ask God to use you today and this week to move people closer to the vital relationship with the Beloved.
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John's travels for ministry behind the Iron Curtain led him to found East-West Ministries International in 1993. John and his wife, Susie, live in Dallas, Texas and have a grown daughter and two grandchildren.