I talked with another person one time and mentioned that my life changed a few years back when I decided to follow Jesus. This person was a big fan of God. He appreciated several special things God did for him in the past. He felt those experiences proved to him God existed. He was very appreciative that God would do those things to help him out.
Sadly, I never really explained the difference between knowing about God and following him. For the first half of my life, I subscribed to a baby-boomer view of God. He built the universe, and it pretty well ran itself. God checked in every now and then, but he was generally off somewhere. He’d come back when I screwed something up and point out what I did wrong. And occasionally, I’d ask him to do something for me. Most of the time he just ignored me. I acknowledged that it was his world, and I was just passing through.
But the world didn’t cooperate with my view of it. My career was a big disappointment. Miserable, I decided to try to understand church. I thought I knew Jesus, and I even convinced some strong Christians in a bible-believing church that I did. And because I wanted to understand Jesus and church better, I signed up for a seminar they held that year. The topic: how to show others how they could know for-a-fact they were going to heaven. Since I didn’t know I was going to heaven for-a-fact either, I had nothing to lose.
As I listened to, and memorized the verses in the presentation, the bible came alive to me. I realized for the first time that my mental model for understanding the world was full of holes. The only explanation for the world that made any sense would come from the One who built it. So I decided to begin to test out what he said. I began to abandon my view of the world, and turn to, and pursue, Jesus view of the world.
Choose to Follow
At that moment, my life changed. I received a new energy to look for Jesus explanation of my circumstances and the world around me. Even today, I don’t follow perfectly, but I continue. As I learn more, he gives me the life, strength, and energy to overcome, and even transform the difficulties I face. Following Jesus is the difference.
And when I follow Jesus, I stop being a spectator. He puts me to work. He wants me to bless the people I meet. He calls his followers to make a difference in the world because they trust him.
What about you? Who do you follow?