From the beginning of his ministry, Jesus defined discipleship in terms of following him. The word disciple means student, learner or follower. Simply stated, to be a Christian is to follow Jesus.
When Jesus first called his disciples, he said: "Come, follow Me" (Matthew 4:19; John 1:43). On another occasion he said: "If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me" (Matthew 16:24). He also said: "whoever serves Me must follow Me; and where I am, my servant also will be" (John 12:26).
The word "follow" is a verb, denoting action, movement, life and progress.
To follow Jesus means many things. It means:
We change courses and directions in life and stop living our old sinful way, and start living life the way we created to live it, according to God's plans and purposes;
We no longer pursue our own selfish goals, ambitions, plans and desires but passionately pursue Christ;
We must do more than make a good spiritual start but have steady progression and determined continuation;
The longer I walk with Jesus, the more I resemble him in my actions, conduct, thoughts, and lifestyle. A Christian is to be Christlike.
I allow Jesus to be my role-model and pattern my life after him;
What is important to Jesus becomes important to me; his priorities become my priorities;
I live each day of my life under the leadership and authority of the Lord;
I stay close to him. You can't follow someone without staying close to them.
I watch and observe Him closely and follow His lead in the practical areas of my life;
I allow Him to live in me, and empower me to do and be that which I could never do or be on my own;
I keep my eyes on Jesus and not people;
My attitudes and responses become increasingly consistent with Biblical principles and teachings;
I fully surrender myself to Him and His Lordship ;
I develop a passion for hearing from Him; talking to Him; and being committed to the worship, fellowship, and ministry of His church;
I must become a "fisher of men", reaching others with the good news of Jesus;
To have real change in my life, dedicating my total being to a lifelong journey with Him.
Are you really following Jesus in 2008? It is an exciting journey of discipleship and development, living and learning. If you're not following, start following today. If you are following, keep following. That's what it means to be a real Christian - to follow Jesus.