Saturday, September 5, 2015

What makes a TRUE follower?

I have been thinking a lot recently about what it truly means to really follow Jesus. It's easy to call ourselves "Christians" but at the end of the day - what does that term really mean?

To be a Christian means to follow Christ - which means to go where He goes, follow in His footsteps and to obey His leading in all things. It is a life that is often sacrificial, a life that is not truly your own but a life lived under the command of Jesus to carry out His will and plans for your life.

Throughout the course of my Christian walk I have been lead by God into some frustrating, upsetting and often deeply hurtful circumstances. I have seen jobs that have been a huge blessing one day literally turn into a total nightmare the following day - and remain that way until I resigned. I have been lead into situations and called by God to do things that no one has understood and resulted in alienation and the loss of a lot of friendships. There has been times when I have been called to speak words of knowledge into people's lives (who claim to be Christians themselves) advising them to change their behaviour or suffer severe consequences yet I have witnessed them ignore the warnings and continue with their behaviour with seemingly little or no consequences despite the warning that I was called to give them.

I've seen myself living a life reduced to having very little, being unsure where I am going to live just a few weeks before I had to move out of my current location while I had my entire emotional psyche turned upside down, pulled apart and examined from head to foot while I've seen others who claim to be Christians living a life of ease where everything just couldn't go more smoothly for them if it tried, despite the fact that I've been called by God to speak truth into their lives and advise them that things need to change.

This has frustrated, hurt and upset me and has lead me to ask the question - "That person is doing wrong in God's eyes - I know as I was clearly called to warn them about their actions - yet they just keep doing it and nothing ever happens to them. I have absolutely no doubt that if I was in their shoes, I would see my entire world collapse in an instant for refusing to obey the spoken word of God over my life. So howcome there are consequences for me for ignoring God's word when I have done so in the past, and not for them?"

I asked this of God and I felt that this was His reply - "Graham, I can't bring about consequences in the lives of those you were called to warn because I do not have the power and the authority to do so, as they haven't given that to me. The reason consequences would happen to you if you tried to stray off the path is because you call Me Lord of your life - and you mean it. Therefore - I have authority to take control of your life and circumstances because that's what you've given to me and allowed me to do. I will not go against free will and I can only guide people when I am truly on the throne in their lives."

God's response helped me to realize that it is because I truly follow Him that He has the authority to lead me where I am meant to go in life and that He has the power to open and close doors regarding my circumstances because I have given him that authority. I have put Him on the throne in my life and those who have heard the spoken word of God to them, knew that it was God and chose to ignore it because it didn't suit them do not put Christ on the throne in their lives. Where He leads - they refuse to go because it doesn't line up with what they want.

Truly following God is not pretty, nor is it for the faint of heart. I was called into a season of financial famine where I was called to live with next to nothing in the bank. Every time it looked like I was about to get ahead financially something would happen to take the finances away - such as being called to go and study or to finance my book. I have been called to take huge risks I never would have otherwise taken - such as moving to a country for 3 months where my only contacts were people I had met on the internet. And I have been pushed over, above and beyond my limits emotionally and spiritually - sometimes even physically. Following God has been far from pretty in my life - and far from easy.

So why do it then? What are the rewards? For the answer to this question I often choose to look at the lives of some rich, famous people who seemingly have it all yet inside they have nothing. Look at Robin Williams for example. All of his fame and wealth yet he chose to end his life. Material possessions and fame could not cure the darkness in his heart. The only cure for that darkness is a powerful, honest relationship with God where Jesus is on the throne of one's life - where He belongs. My life has not been easy. But over the years of hardship and having my emotional and spiritual life almost constantly upheaved - I have steadily been building a foundation of peace and truth which has replaced the lies I have carried in my heart. I know now that my life from this point forwards will be built on a strong foundation which has been built by years of relentlessly pursuing after God - and paying the price for doing so. Anything built on a foundation of darkness and untruth will not last, and the higher it has been built, the more damage it will do when it falls. Not to mention a foundation of darkness will seep through and pollute even the most glorious life built on top of it.

What happens to those who claim to be Christians that God calls to follow Him in order to face the parts of themselves that they need to face in order to build a strong foundation - but they refuse to follow because it doesn't suit them? The most terrifying aspect of this is that for all of God's children - He wants to be on the throne in their lives. If there are idols occupying that throne - be they friends, relationships, pride, fear - God will relentlessly pursue those idols. If His people reject His pursuit of those idols in their lives then in time, they will reap a bitter harvest. Even if they do seemingly "have everything" and get to keep it, it's based on a wrong foundation so they will never really appreciate it anyway. And over time, others around them will begin to see the undeniable truth about who they really are - because the truth cannot be contained and buried under lies forever. God will go after them and will go after the idols in their lives. But if people continually reject Him - they are in grave danger of putting out the Spirit's fire in their lives, and seeing themselves walk into a place of continual wilderness where everything is just constantly difficult - an endless uphill battle. When we follow God into the wilderness - He is with us, so we are safe. When we lead ourselves in there due to our negligence and refusal to honour the spoken word of God in our lives - we put ourselves in mortal danger and even if things do go seemingly well for a time - that undercurrent of darkness God wants to address will rot away at everything they build from the inside out, meaning that even the shiniest, most perfectly happy looking life will be rendered meaningless.

In conclusion - it is worth it to follow God. We are not in danger when we seek after Him and when He leads us through immense hardship. We are in far more danger when we ignore His spoken word in our lives and therefore refuse to follow Him - thus putting someone or something else on the throne. A life following God is often not glamorous. But it builds a foundation that will last, and that alone is worth all of the hardship one can face.

Take care and God bless.

1 comment:

  1. What an intriguing post. Its always refreshing to see some of the same sentiments I've expressed or felt from someone I've never met in my life.