What distinguishes a fan of Jesus, from a follower of Jesus?
Very simply, it boils down to this question:
Who is leading your life? You or Jesus?
To truly follow Jesus, we must submit our hearts and everything we have for Him, and to Him. He wants to give us new life, and change our hearts. But how does Jesus do this? Through Grace.
Jesus loves us unconditionally, right where we are, no matter what we have done in our past, and that can ONLY be accomplished through grace, because none of us deserve Jesus’ love. And by being followers of Jesus, we are called to show that same grace to others. In Romans 10:14-15, Jesus specifically tells us to share the news about His love to EVERYONE, so that WE can bring more people to Him.
In today’s society, the topics of “church” and “religion” are unfortunately a walking-on-eggshells situation for many people. This is for a number of reasons, but often it seems to stem from bad experiences with a church in the past, or the RULES that non-followers associate with churches and organized Christianity.
Many people that are not followers of Jesus unfortunately associate Christianity with picketing, protesting, or feelings of being unwelcome or judged by “church people.”
By trying to live out the values and guidelines laid before us by Jesus, many Christians generate a system of rules that misses the mark of following Jesus, and actually serve to turn people away from Him. Living by rules is very cumbersome, and only serves to create separation amongst fans and followers. Even one of the greatest philosophical minds in our history made note of this:
“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
By being aware of this separation, we have the opportunity to reach people for Christ in a radical way. The driving focus we need to have in our mission to be disciples for Jesus, is to have GRACE for ALL people, not to lay out a system of rules for how someone ought to live.
As we move forward and grow as the Body of Christ, our mission should be to love people, WHEREVER they may be at. This does not mean that “anything goes” or that we leave people where they are. Rather, it means we show love, and share the truth about Jesus, so that people can be changed, through Him and His power.
We are the body of Christ and are specifically instructed, by Jesus, to show grace and bring more people to Him. Let this be our prayer as we interact with people this week:
“Heavenly Father, thank you for your unconditional love for me. Even though I am undeserving, you gave Yourself, and Your life, so that I can be saved and have new life. I pray that I can have the same heart, and to see ALL people as you do. Help me to love people and share the good news about You with them, so that they can be drawn to you, and made new as I have.”