I follow Christ.
I think that this is a good place to start, and it is important that I begin here. I am going to try to explain what I mean when I say “I follow Christ.”
I decided a long time ago to follow Christ for myself, to be in relationship with Him, and take my place as a part of His church. And I have come too far from where I started to renege and abandon Him, after I have gotten to know Him so well and found Him to be incredibly faithful.
For some, this sounds great, and you’re still with me.
For others, this is already challenging for all kinds of reasons. I hope you’re still with me too.
The Christ I follow was sent by the God in whom I believe. I believe in a God that created the world and loves the world, every single person in the world. And for all of eternity, He is constantly demonstrating His love for us and to us, the people in the world, in ways that we can and cannot fathom. He loves us profoundly and eternally. He loves us as we are, knowing us completely, as who we are right now and as who we are in Him.
For me, this means a lot because I cannot remember a time when I did not want to be loved, and I have wanted that thing so bad y’all, so bad.
I have wanted to be known and loved, both at the same time. It is not enough when folks do one and not the other. I figure, if you know me and don’t really love me, well that just sucks. And if you love me and don’t really know me, that’s not that great either…
And I don’t know about you, but I have many people in my life who know me and love me. I’m smiling now even as I write about it. Love is such a wonderful thing to receive. I have grown to see that these people, along with many other life occurrences, are a part of God demonstrating His love for me.
The challenge of receiving and responding to His love though, of knowing who I am in Him, of following Christ, started a long time ago when relationship with Him was broken by sin.
As I understand it, God has always had a dynamic plan and purpose for us, for our good. Again, it is based on Him knowing us, loving us, and being in relationship with us. And when the first people in the world acted apart from that plan and sinned, disobeying God and thinking they could be God, it brought a separation between every single person and God.
Still, God loves us. He loves the world so much that He made a way so that we could be reconciled to Him. He, in all His greatness and sovereignty, came to this world as Jesus Christ to sacrifice His life and die for all the sins of every single person who would come to this world.
And in doing so, if we would believe in Him, we would be in relationship with Him again and live. If we would believe that God is God alone, accept this dynamic plan of His love, admit our sin-based separation from Him, and declare our commitment to being in relationship with Him, we would be saved from this death and reconciled back to Him.
Does any of this make sense to you? All of this is kind of amazing if you stop and really think about it. And if you have never really thought about it before, I would encourage you to actually stop and actually think about it.
Perhaps you have thought about it though, and you have some issues with God. It might be with Him and/or with other people who claim to love Him and follow Christ. I can accept that. And I think God can too. And perhaps, as humbly as I can wonder, now might be a time to think about those issues. I think relationship with God, to a certain extent, can be compared to any other major relationship someone might have.
I imagine that you may have at least one relationship that is really important to you, one where you care about someone a lot. And in that relationship with that person, you may have a collection of issues with said person– some minor, others not so minor. And maybe if you are really committed to that person, you have been willing to be open and work through those issues over time. And perhaps even if you have been in that relationship long enough, you have been able to learn and grow and change for the better. And though it is not always been easy and comfortable, it is possible that you have come to find that it has been worth it. And working through those issues ultimately makes the relationship more important to you.
That’s kind of what my relationship with God has been. Following Christ has meant being with God and being open to God accessing every part of life. And I mean every part. And I am talking about my life here, so in the general sense, there are all kinds of things to address, it is all important to me, and sometimes it is not easy. I mean, it is my life… I hope you can understand that.
Taken together, as I follow Christ, I acknowledge God as God alone. He is a God of imaginable and unimaginable greatness. He is a God who loves profoundly and eternally. He has a wonderful and dynamic plan for us to live and be in relationship with Him, and He is incredibly faithful to us and to that plan.
As I follow Christ, I recognize that I have a major problem with sin. I am not flawless and am far from perfection. I am in need of God to save me from myself.
As I follow Christ, I accept that I am His and He is mine. I receive His forgiveness of my sin and His sufficient grace that not only addresses my problem with sin but also empowers me to be who He intended for me to be.
And as I follow Christ, I receive His love and strive to respond to His love. And oh how God loves us. God loves me, and I hope you know that God loves you. I really mean that, not in some vague or trite way, but really—God loves you. He knows you and loves you.
Thoughts? Comments? Give me what you got. I would love to hear from you.
Love Love Love,