01 November, 2010

Following in the Steps of Jesus

We all hear about following Jesus and even call ourselves Christ followers, but what does it mean to follow Christ... to walk in his steps? This is not an exhaustive step by step review of "how to follow Jesus" but rather is a couple of key points that the Holy Spirit is pressing into my spirit today... a couple of simple observations about Jesus that we need to pick up and emulate.

(1)Jesus never acted in haste
This is a key point that just a casual reader of the Gospels might miss, but it is oh, so important. If you study the life of Jesus, you will observe that he did not make snap decisions in response to the pressure tactics of others. 
Those that are skilled in the art of negotiations know that waiting is a weapon. The one who is the most hurried usually ends up with the short end of the deal. Waiting reveals the weakness in any plan, plus the motives of those around you. Your greatest mistakes will often happen because of impatience, so think long term. 

(2) He knew when to work and when to rest. 
Remember the story about the time when Jesus and the disciples were on a boat in the middle of a the Sea of Galilee and a storm blew up? The disciples were filled with anguish and fear and they strained and sweat against the storm... but Jesus slept.  Now compare that to a night in the garden of Gethsemane the disciples slept, but Jesus sweated. Thats because He knew when to work and when to rest. Knowing when to act and when to trust... what to give your attention to and what to leave in Gods hands... this a secret you must learn if you and I are going to do Gods will and not burn out. 

Make no mistake, nobody was busier than Jesus. Everybody wanted something from Him and made demands of him.  The simple truth is that the more successful you are the more people will reach for you. But Jesus  knew that he needed to separate Himself from others in order to receive. He understood that you cant give what you dont have, and he would separate himself to get alone in prayer.  Work means giving; rest means receiving. Jesus understood the balance;  and I believe this is why He accomplished so much in three short years. When youre rested you think more clearly, you make better decisions, you see life through confident eyes, you accomplish more in less time, and what you build is built to last.  Many of us need to learn when to work and when to rest...  to stop our frantic rush. Following in the footsteps of Jesus means being led, not driven!

3.Jesus knew He didn't have to prove Himself. 
At the cross, the accusers of Jesus said, "If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross." What was his reaction? He refused to let their comments sway him in any way or detract him from doing what he knew to do. Jesus was confident in the knowledge that he did not need their approval because he already had  the approval of his Fathers. In Matthew 27, at the baptism of Jesus, the Father said, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."  

Jesus did not bother wasting time in answering His critics. Remember at the mock trial where they accused him, Jesus made no reply to the charges leveled against him, which amazed  the governor.  We read in the Word where Jesus responded with compassion to those in need, those who were hungry or oppressed. He responded to those who were seeking God, but not to people trying to trap Him. 
You owe nothing to a critic. Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of your words. (Proverbs 23:9)

If you want to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, focus on what he is calling you to, not on the voices of those on the sidelines!

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