Believers or Followers

By Chris Tiegreen

“Whoever serves me must follow me.” (John 12:26)

chris tiegreenMuch of the emphasis of modern evangelism is to create believers in Jesus. Faith is the overriding concern. Considering the overwhelming emphasis on faith in the Bible, this is an appropriate focus. But what kind of faith do we promote? What kind of faith does Jesus expect?

Jesus makes it clear that faith in Him does not mean simply an intellectual agreement with His claims. No, to believe in Jesus is to serve Him and follow Him. It is absolutely meaningless to claim faith in Jesus and then live contrary to His teachings with no apparent interest in aligning ourselves with them. Faith means hanging the entire balance of our lives on His claims and His commands. It means not only accepting Him as our Savior, but following Him as our Lord. To separate these two roles of Jesus is to make Him into something He is not, and it is to make our beliefs almost meaningless. Whoever believes Him, loves Him, serves Him-that person will follow Him. Whoever does not follow Him does not serve Him, love Him, or really even believe in Him.

So what does it mean to follow Jesus? It means that wherever He is, that's where we'll be. Is He at the right hand of the Father? Then we who follow are seated there with Him (Ephesians 2:6). Is He on the cross? Then we who follow Him are there also (Galatians 2:20). Is He in prisons and slums? Then we will be there too. Wherever God is reconciling this vile world in Christ, that's where Jesus' true followers will be.

Ask yourself the hard questions about your discipleship. Are you a believer or a follower? In modern English, there's a difference. But in Jesus' vocabulary, each of those words implies the other. To believe in Him means to serve Him, as He commanded, and to serve means to follow.

Where are you willing to follow Jesus? Many will follow Him as long as He does not rearrange their lives. But this isn't true following; it's self-deception. Jesus will often take us where we are reluctant to go. If we serve Him, we will go anyway.

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Stephen Bernard 06.02.2018 12:45  
Believers or Followers? Yes No   It's the right definition of believing Jesus and accepting as the Lord and Saviour. If every one tries to grades one's faith in Jesus will find they score below average including me. In times I tend to be a believer without substance in my faith. It is not expected to be random. A consistent follower of Jesus as you have rightly said would be their Jesus was when He was here on this earth. In the slums, at the blind and deaf' sites, not to give alms, to stop begging! Excellent teaching.  
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trisha noren 04.02.2018 18:57  
Eternal difference between believer and follower Yes No   Hi Chris...
for me, the word Christian means religion...most religions do not believe in what the Bible says...
a follower of Christ means he is a born again, spirit-filled follower...
Jesus says in John 3:3 and John must be "born again"
(to live in His holy Kingdom for Eternity!)
i pray more evangelists will make this critical distinction!!!
In His Service and Joy,
trisha n.
melbourne, fl
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Sheryl 01.02.2018 14:03  
Alive Yes No   I read all your work for a reason. What is most alive in you pours out through your words to us, the readers. Because it is alive, when I read it, no matter if it is ten years after you have written it, I receive life from it. Thank you. Jesus is reminding me today, that to love Him is to follow Him and He does go where I can be very reluctant to tread - like into psych wards at hospitals. But your words today have encouraged me that He is worthy of our trust. Thank you and blessings  
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Tyrone Curtis 01.02.2018 10:56  
Believers or followers Yes No   Chris:
I really agree with your main point. That is that to believe is demonstrated by our willingness to follow where Jesus goes or to go where He went to reach the lost. This is a reality check.

Tyrone Curtis
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Timothy Chikes 01.02.2018 09:03  
Good Message Today Yes No   I found this very compelling.  
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Ginny Walsman 01.02.2018 11:13  
Thanks Yes No   Not only compelling, but necessary for true discipleship and a fulfilling Christian life! Thanks, Chris, for making it so plain!  
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