Angela Hays Moore has a passion for God, and His Son, Jesus, and in sharing the Gospel of the Kingdom message, one heart at a time. Angela, with her husband, Tony, and their five children, are active within their community in Knightstown, Indiana, planting a church - Knightstown Family Fellowship. Angela enjoys writing and speaking, and is the author of an illustrated children’s book, “Maggie Seeks the Kingdom of God.”
A Follower of Jesus Christ - How To Walk the Walk
by Angela Moore
“But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” For amazement had seized him and all his companions because of the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men.” And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.” Luke 5:8-11.
“They left everything and followed him.” Have you ever known such six powerful words that changed the course of history in such a miraculous way that these men would never have imagined? Yet, here we are, over two thousand years later, still marveling at this man, Jesus, who went on to preach the Gospel of the coming Kingdom, died for our sins on a cross, and whom God raised from the dead, to be the first resurrected man to live immortally. Acts 3:21 tells us that Jesus sits at the right Hand of God, “whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.” Do you believe this? Do you believe Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, who will one day return to the earth, to begin setting up His Father’s Kingdom from Jerusalem? If so, we too must follow him.
What does it mean to become a follower of Jesus Christ? I think Jesus answers this question, when one of the scribes asks Jesus, “What commandment is the foremost of all?” And Jesus answers him, found in Mark 12:29-31:
1) The foremost is: Hear O Israel! The LORD our God is one Lord; You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.
2) You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
It starts with a foundation – knowing that YHWH, our God, is one Lord. Not two lords. Not three. There is only one God, whom we are to love with our entire being. This is key, because without it, there is no reason to obey Him, no reason to want to love others, no reason to listen to the words of His Son, no reason to submit our will to God’s, dying to our own selfish wants and desires. It begins with a trembling, humble heart, which will fear the one Adonai YHWH.
When we get #1 down, #2 naturally follows. I John 5:3-5 tells us, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is victory that has overcome the world – our faith. And who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” When we love God, we will obey all His other commandments, for we will have a heart that is desiring to please Him in all things. By our faith, believing that Jesus is the Son of God, it provides us God’s Spirit (His power, His presence) to indwell in us, giving us the supernatural ability to overcome sin, and thus inherit the Kingdom of God when Jesus returns. In Revelation 2:10-11 Jesus tells us “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life…he who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.” As followers of Jesus Christ, we will love God so much, that we will obey His commandments, and therefore be ‘overcomers’ who will inherit the Kingdom and eternal life in the age to come. It is our inheritance, our reward, for believing in the man, Jesus, whom God provided for us for salvation.
As followers of Jesus Christ, we will love others. Jesus commands us in John 15:17, “This I COMMAND you, that you love one another.” Not an option. It’s a MUST. I John 4:7 says, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” This is our outward fruit to show that we are true followers of Jesus Christ and God’s people: we will be active in loving other people, thus bearing fruit. Without this love, we really aren’t who we say we are. We really aren’t living a truly obedient life to our Father in Heaven. I John 2:4, John calls these people “liars” and says that “the truth is not in him.”
So how are we to be followers of Jesus Christ? I John 2:6 says, “the one who says he abides in Him (Jesus) ought himself to walk in the same manner as he walked.” John 15:5, 7 Jesus tells us “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from me you can do nothing. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.” So, we can draw the conclusion, that to be a true follower of Jesus Christ, we are to walk as he walked, and the only way we can walk as he did, is to abide in him, and have him abide in us. How? By having Jesus’ words living in us.
We know that Jesus’ words are actually words which God told him to speak, as Jesus tells us in John 8:26, “He who sent me is true; and the things which I heard from Him, these I speak to the world.” This is another fulfillment of the spoken word of God through Moses, about Jesus in Deuteronomy 18:18 “I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.”
Jeremiah 31:33 “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them, and on their heart I will write it.” When we study, delight, breathe in, renew our minds with the word God spoke, through Jesus, we are being filled with the Spirit of God. God’s Spirit will help us walk in the manner that Jesus did. Just as Jesus spoke of himself doing, walking in like manner of God in John 5:19 “The Son can do nothing of himself, unless it is something he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.”
Ephesians 5:1-2 tells us to be “imitators of God as beloved children; and walk in love.” The infamous phrase, “Don’t just talk the talk, walk the walk” is so true! It’s a walk of love - living out our love for the one true God and loving others. To be followers of Jesus the Christ, we need to abide in his words, not only believing them, but living and walking them out, just as Jesus obediently believed and lived out the words that God spoke to Him. When we do this, we truly will be followers of Jesus Christ, living obedient lives to God, being overcomers of the world, recipients of eternal life in the age to come, and bearing fruit consistent with our love for God and for others. On our own, it would be a tall order - an impossible endeavor to embark upon. With God, the impossible becomes possible, thus empowering us so that we can turn from our old way of life, leave everything behind, to follow Jesus in a radical, God-glorifying, fruit-bearing way in Christ Jesus! You will no longer be the same when you do. You will be a new creation in Christ, an ambassador for Christ, an imitator of God, a child of God, a co-heir with Christ Jesus. Your purpose in life will become part of a bigger purpose - Jesus’ purpose, which is God’s plan or word of the Kingdom, spoken of long ago and the Gospel promised to Abraham. Becoming a follower of Christ is much bigger than it just being about ‘me.’ It is something that spreads and multiplies, when we begin to love others to ‘catch men’ for the sake of bringing them the good news of Jesus and the word or God’s plan of the Kingdom, so that they too, can enjoy salvation and their reward on that day of his return.
Jesus is calling you, too. “Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men.” And _______________ (fill the blank in with your name) left everything and followed him.”