Becoming a follower of Christ may sound similar to believing in Jesus, little wonder you may hear people say, “I’m a follower of Christ” but can you take a moment to understand what it truly means to follow Christ?

In the New Testament, when Christ called his first disciples, he said, “Follow me and I will make you…”  The statement of Christ and their response captures what it means to be a follower. So becoming a follower of Christ is the readiness to take up a new and committed course for Christ without looking back. It is the awareness a man has of coming to God not to do his will anymore but the absolute will of God. Following Christ also means dying.

In Matthew 8:19 a certain man said to Jesus, “…Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.”
This man seems to say this out of curious interest in the dynamics of Christ’s works and miracles but lacked the understanding of the selfless ministry He came to fulfill which would eventually lead to His death on the cross.

What was Christ’s response to him?

And Jesus saith unto him, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.”

For us to be a follower of Christ, we must come to understand the ministry of Jesus and dedicate our lives to fulfilling it as he did. Christ’s response was enough to help the man know that following Him was more than a confession but a lifetime commitment.

What it means to be a follower of Christ.

here are four (4) keynotes to help you get a picture of what it means to be a follower of Christ

1. It means following Christ on his terms, not ours

“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” — John 15:16

Some people want to be Christians and nothing more. That is, they want to call Christ their Lord and still run their lives. The result of such life is seen in lack of fruit-bearing.¹1 Such people eventually become self-made Christians contrary to what Matthew 4:19 said, and unprofitable.

Before Christ’s first disciples can become his followers, they need to become mature in their understanding through many things they were taught by words and lifestyle. They first went from unrefined to contentious to confused until they became disciples. Different experiences helped drove the messages of Christ deeply rooted in their lives that were eventually patterned after the life of Christ, and this was made possible by their continuous submission to the Maker.

What does it mean to be a follower of Christ?

2. It means submitting ourselves to his modeling

“And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.” — Matthew 4:19-20

Before we become that man or woman in the mind of God we must submit ourselves to be made by the Maker and that will not happen except we follow him. It’s a condition. A true follower of Christ is compliant to the revealed truth of God and accept the hard teachings of Christ

Beyond confession of faith in Christ, we are to submit to his will for our lives at any given time even when it runs contrary to ours.

What does it mean to be a follower of Christ?

3. It means listening and learning from Him

Matthew 11:29 says, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”

What are we to learn from Christ to be a true follower? We are to learn his humility. If our heart is not one that likes to be humble, we need to take the yoke of Christ and learn his humility. Christ came in his earthly ministry to serve and he told his disciples that they too must learn to serve others as followers of him. This will require lowliness of heart and meekness.

We are to learn his life of devotion and prayer. We cannot be as busy as Christ neither can we be more powerful than he is, yet he always took out time to be alone with the Father for strength to be renewed and prayed often. The best way to cultivate a life of devotion and prayer is to ensure a quiet time with God each morning. It also means the discipline of rising up to do so.

What else are we to learn from Christ? We are to learn to listen to Him
There is a difference between listening and listening. Some people listen to do, while few listen to understand.

Sometimes, Christ wants to make sure his disciples had got the message he’s trying to pass across to them and would ask, “do you understand?” And frankly most of the time the disciples did not understand, not until later.

We cannot be a follower of Christ if we don’t listen to his words, teachings, and doctrines to understand them. We may have read the Bible a number of times, but how well have we understood the sayings of Christ?

Related Article: Christ’s superior ministry and the responsibility of believers

Christ said if we hear his word and don’t understand it, then it is unprofitable for us because it has become a parable unto us.

What does it mean to be a follower of Christ?

4. It means to trust and to surrender

We cannot surrender our lives to Christ without first trusting him with our lives. God counted Abraham’s faith for righteousness because he against hope believed in hope. Not only so, but he was also ready to sacrifice his only son in hope that God was able to raise him up again.

Faith is absolute trust in God. To become a follower of Christ, we must come to the point where we can trust God with our lives.

Revelation 2:10 says, “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”

Christ always tells his followers what to expect as they serve him. He told them of rejection, denial, or outright persecution by opposers but also promised victory at last.

The necessity of faith while following the Lord

Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

When we allow the thoughts of losing out in life because of our decision to follow Christ, we begin to count our steps and will eventually stop following at any given opportunity. This displeases Christ who wants us to trust Him with our lives. If he calls a man, it is for a purpose, and there is a reason for whatsoever he allows to come his way. Christ has told us in his word that he will take those who follow him to heaven, faith makes us believe and trust in those words. Yes, it’s not a problem-free journey but at least he has told us what to expect as we follow him

What to expect as Christ’s follower

1. Expect to suffer for Christ’s sake. (Related article: The true meaning of passion)
2. Expect rejection, denial of a right, or loss because of Christ
3. Expect to be misunderstood by friends and families
4. Expect joy in the holy ghost
5. Expect peace that passes understanding reigning in your heart
6. Expect spiritual and physical fruitfulness
7. Expect the inner witness of the Comforter

The Reward of Following Christ.

John 8:12
“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

One of the rewards of following Christ is a clear path in life. In the midst of whatever may come our way, the One who we follow will never leave his own in the dark to wonder. His indwelling Spirit gives us clarity and assurance of our hope.

John 12:26
“If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.”

Another reward for following Christ is heaven at last. When we follow our friends we eventually know their homes. When we follow and serve Christ to the end, we eventually know his place of abode and the Father honours us, for he must have heard our testimonies from the mouth of the Son. There is a crown of life.

Now you know how to become a true follower of Christ. Will you be one?

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