What does it mean to follow Jesus? How can I get started? Where will He take me? What will we do along the way?
It must have been awesome to be one of those Galilean fishermen who first heard Jesus say, “Come! Follow me.” They had to be as curious as they were honored and excited when Jesus invited them. What would that mean for them?
They couldn’t have understood fully why Jesus singled them out, yet something about him drew them like a magnet. Without a hint of coercion, Jesus convinced them to leave their boats and nets to become his disciples. Though they could have turned back at any time, they became so committed to him that—with only one exception—they preferred giving up their lives to giving up their calling.
But what does it mean to truly follow Jesus Christ today? He still makes that invitation to us and it still takes a willing response on our part. It requires a courageous choice and commitment.
If you have not yet made the wholehearted choice to follow Jesus, I hope you will read these pages with an open heart and mind and that you will commit to being his faithful follower, servant, and friend. If you have already made that decision, I trust that these pages will help you understand what your decision meant, what God did for you, and what you need to continue doing to be a joyful, committed, victorious follower.
You will find many verses from the Bible. The references are included in parenthesis to help you find them in your own Bible and read them in the context in which they were written.
Many people go through life without knowing why they exist and without discovering the most meaningful relationship a person can have. To find fulfillment, we must know that we were created by God and for God. God has always wanted to be the Lord of our life and our closest companion. He has planned a happy, holy, useful, satisfying life for each of us. But we have allowed sin, self-interest and indifference to separate us from him and from the life he wants us to enjoy. By living independently of him we have opened the door of our lives to unhappiness, alienation, and suffering. The Bible describes what we are like if we don’t have the relationship with God that he wants to have with us. We are...
I once spoke with a young woman who wore a simple gold cross on a chain around her neck. I asked her if she wore it because she was a Christian. She said she, “Yes, but I don’t like the idea that many Christians have that Jesus is the only way.” As she walked away, I reflected on the fact that the cross has to signify that Jesus is the only way because God wouldn’t have required his cruel death on the cross for our sins if there was another way.
How do you think these Bible statements apply to you?
“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
“Like sheep, we have all gone astray. We all go our own way.”
“When we sin we earn what sin pays—death.”
Without Jesus, we live for ourselves. We go our own way. We plan our own lives. We seek to satisfy our own desires. Rather than doing God’s will, we do our own will. We become self-centered and frustrated. We become entangled in wrongdoing. We find ourselves alienated from God. We have no true spiritual life. We suffer sin’s consequences. Then, when life is over, separation from God becomes eternal. Jesus called it hell. Does that sound hopeless? It’s not, because despite all that, there is good news!
Despite our faults, failures, and sins, God has not given up on us. No matter what we have done, he wants to be our Lord, our Savior, and our friend. He wants us to live happy, holy lives, and enjoy his peace. He desires to redeem our life and change our destiny.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”(John 3:16)
God’s love is…
Because God is holy, sin repulses him. His justice requires serious consequences for those who choose to practice sin. But because God loves us, no matter what sins we have committed, he longs to show mercy to us and save us from our sin and its consequences. To carry out justice and provide for our salvation, God sent his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to take upon himself the judgment for our sins. Jesus took our pain, our sin, our anguish, and died in our place on the cross. When we repent of our sins and accept his sacrifice for them, we are forgiven and cleansed of our wrong thoughts, words, actions, and attitudes.
“Christ died for us while we were still sinners.
That shows us how much God loves us” (Romans 5:8).
What is the unmistakable proof of God’s love for us? (Romans 5:8).
Knowing that God loves you, offers you forgiveness, and wants to save you, why not talk with him and...
“He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:11-12).
If you have taken the steps to repent of your sins and receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, write a few words recording your decision to follow Jesus Christ. Be sure to include the date, place, and time as a statement of your commitment. And write in a few words of thanksgiving for what he has done for you.
When we sincerely repent of our sins and receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, wonderful things begin to happen.
As a newborn child of God, with Christ’s Spirit in your heart, you can live a new life. Be humble and willing to repent of sins you commit. Keep believing. Follow the Bible’s teaching. Christ will help you become victorious!
It’s wonderful to be saved and to know we are saved through faith in Jesus. Here are three ways God assures us of our salvation:
What changes do you see in your life since believing in Jesus?
As a child of God, you can talk with your heavenly Father. God delights to hear and answer your heartfelt prayers. Here are some important things to do when you pray:
List a few urgent subjects for prayer.
Another thing to do daily: Read your Bible. For many convincing reasons, Christians believe it is God’s inspired Word:
The Bible has two sections: The Old Testament, written before Christ’s birth, having 39 books; and the New Testament, written after Christ’s coming, having 27 books. The books are divided into chapters which are divided into numbered verses. Start reading the New Testament. Read the gospel of John, then Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Read the Psalms to relate to God, and a chapter of Proverbs each day. You will learn quickly.
Be consistent and follow a plan. Write down the insights you find and don’t be afraid to underline verses or write in the margins of the page. A well-marked Bible is usually the sign of a well-used Bible. Also, consider joining a Bible study group.
Becoming a Christian does not exempt you from temptation. But don’t be discouraged; you can learn to resist it and overcome it. It is not a sin to be tempted. Jesus was tempted in every way that we are, but he did not sin (Hebrews 4:15).
Temptation is an incentive to transgress God’s will. Temptation may make sin attractive, but not irresistible. With the help of the Lord you can see temptation’s power broken.
Like a TV commercial, temptation seeks to:
A — Draw ATTENTION
I — Create INTEREST
D — Stimulate DESIRE
A — Call for ACTION
“Flee from sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18).
“Flee from idolatry” (1 Corinthians 10:14).
“Flee from the love of money... (1 Timothy 6:11).
“Flee from the evil desires of youth” (2 Timothy 2:22).
“Do not be overcome by evil.
Overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).
List some temptations you face and how you handle them.
From what four things should you flee?
(1 Corinthians 6:18)
(1 Corinthians 10:14)
(1 Timothy 6:11)
(2 Timothy 2:22)
As you follow Christ, your friends and family will observe you. God can use you to win them. Show them by word and action what Christ means to you.
List eight people you want to lead to the Lord. Commit to praying for them and sharing your faith with them.
Every true believer is automatically a member of Christ’s universal church and should also be active in a local church. What should you know about the church?
Each local church has its own structure, but anyone can join if he or she is converted to Christ and baptized. “Change your hearts and lives and be baptized...” (Acts 2:38). Talk to the pastor of the church you want to attend. He will guide you through the important steps of finding your place in the body of Christ.
Attend faithfully. “You should not stay away from the church meetings, as some are doing. But you should meet together and encourage each other” (Hebrews 10:25). Even if you don’t find a church that meets all of your expectations, don’t drop out. Your presence will be an encouragement to the pastor and an inspiration to those who need an example of faithfulness.
Get involved! The church isn’t a place to sit back; it’s a place to serve with the abilities God has given you. Make yourself available. Allow the Holy Spirit to show you what your gifts and abilities are and where they fit in the ministry of the church. You may feel that others are more capable than you are, but remember this: God uses willing people and makes them able. He does not choose able people who are not willing. Ask the pastor where you can help.
Contribute financially. The church is maintained by the contributions of its members. Jesus encouraged believers to give, and praised a woman for her sacrifice when she could only give two coins. God has promised spiritual and material blessings to those who demonstrate their love and dedication, contributing to the work of the Lord through the church.
“We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. (Romans 12: 1-3, 6-8).
Jesus said “I have been given complete authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20).
As a follower of Jesus Christ you can help others find and follow him. Why not teach a friend what you learned in this booklet?