A few days ago the question occurred to me: who are you following? In that moment the Scripture that says “fix your eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith…” immediately came to mind. Today I want to ask you this question, who (or what) are you following?
In Scripture, time and time again, we see Jesus tell others to “follow Him”. The New Testament has much to say about following Jesus (what it means, costs, looks like, etc.) and I encourage you to read and study the Bible to understand this more. If you aren’t a follower of Jesus now, you can visit http://www.myemanuel.com/i-am-ready to learn more about who Jesus is and how you can be saved through Him. If you are a Christian (or a curious skeptic) I encourage you to keep reading.
I have often heard Christians (and non-Christians) say something like “I don’t go to church because…” Normally in the blank there is some story about a time they were hurt by a leader at church, by a friend who claims the faith, or worse yet by a parent or family member who was a self proclaimed follower of Jesus. Often the pain and hurt they endured makes it hard (even though they love Jesus) to expose themselves to the vulnerability of being hurt again.
In conversations I’ve had or heard about with non-believers, time and time again I hear how people admire Jesus but not His followers. One example, attributed to Gandhi, puts it this way: “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
With all this hurt and confusion both in and out of the church, I want to share this reminder: Jesus called you to follow Him, not other “Christians”. Jesus called you to follow Him, not your spouse. Jesus called you to follow Him, not your favorite teacher or preacher. Jesus called you to follow Him.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV)
To all those who have been hurt by the church, it’s leaders or teachers, or anyone who has claimed the name of Christ, my hope is that you can forgive them and find healing. Although those we love, respect, and trust may fail us, Christ never will. God’s love is unfailing, He is faithful, and even when His most faithful servants stumble, Jesus never will.
Today I leave you with this thought: keep your eyes on Jesus. Follow Jesus. This way when other Christians fail you, you will remember your faith is in the One who never will. His promise is clear and my prayer is that it fills us all with awe and joy:
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV)