THE BALANCED FOLLOWER
How do we become strong followers of Jesus? Is it by having a personal relationship with Him? Maybe we should pray more? Or is it memorizing Bible passages? Or maybe we hit the mark through good works – you know, like feeding the hungry, donating our time to children that need mentors, or carrying a little old lady’s groceries. Is going to church once a week for a personal “spiritual shot in the arm” good enough? We call ourselves followers, but what exactly does that mean? What’s a well-meaning student of Jesus to do?
Well, this may come as a shock to you, but God’s Word has given us some direction to help answer our question.
Take a look at what Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 about the quest of learning and spending time in God’s Word:
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Paul tells us that scripture is “God-breathed.” It comes from His very being. And Paul tells us it is useful and should be used for our training. Why? So that we may be ready and equipped to do the work. What work? His work. You were created for a reason and the mission is the Kingdom of God.
And speaking of work, Jesus has a bit of wisdom for us as well. He tells us in Matthew 5:16:
“In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
Jesus, the world’s only Authentic Man is telling us that we, as His disciples, have a light shining inside of us. Where’s this light coming from (no, we didn’t swallow a flashlight)? This light is His. It’s the light of the world – the light of Jesus and it must be shared. Why? That’s your purpose as His disciple – to bring His light to the world.
What a beautiful thought to know that the Supreme Authority of the Universe is in us and that His light can shine through us. He’s not off somewhere on a mountain top, sitting on a throne, surrounded by angels, disconnected and uninterested in you. Jesus tells us that He wants relationship and connection, and that relationship and connection is made real through the gift of a Friend – the Holy Spirit. Jesus lovingly tells us in John 16:13-15:
“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.”
You see? Following Jesus is the greatest gift we could ever be offered. There’s so much more to this gift than most of us truly understand. He offers us knowledge and wisdom. He offers us relationship and love. And that comes with a blessing. He wants to bring you into His adventure, but we must do the work. The world needs to see the light of Jesus.
So, how do we become strong followers of The Way? The answer comes to us through balance. We must balance knowledge, relationship and work. We become stronger through balance because:
If we focus only on learning, we have a lot of knowledge and no relationship. If we only work, we become legalistic and our faith is only for show. If we only experience Him through relationship, we bear no fruit.
A strong disciple is a well-prepared, active, engaged person living out the beautiful adventure called life.