Follow Me (part 2)

By DiscipleshipJournal • Discipleship • 24 Oct 2012

Imitate me as I imitate Christ (1 Cor 11:1).

Don’t miss it
Jesus modelled what it looked like to make disciples and then he commanded us to “make disciples” of others.  But today we tend to ignore a vital part of that discipleship process—the call to “follow me”.

Now bear with me a moment.

Being a disciple of Jesus means that we are disciples of JESUS.  When we make disciples, we’re making disciples of Him.  BUT… the discipleship process (as He demonstrated to us) began with the invitation, “follow me”, and so as we make disciples, it’s important that we invite people to follow us.

The Apostle Paul understood this.

As He lived out the Great Commission in the world, He called people to follow Him.  Or to use his words, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ” (1 Cor 11:1).

Discipleship is a relational process.  It is about one person teaching another the things God has taught them.  It’s about allowing someone to see your relationship with God first-hand.  It’s about inviting them into your life to witness first hand the good and the bad, letting them observe and ask questions.

And it starts with an invitation to “follow me”.

Houston, we have a problem
In our culture today, giving that invitation feel a bit… arrogant.  It feels wrong to ask someone to “follow me” as if I’m some big shot.  But it’s an important and defining part of the discipleship process.

The trouble with saying “follow me” is that, while Jesus was perfect, we are not.  When Jesus asked someone to follow Him, they followed the flawless Son of God.  Imitating and interacting with Him only brought good results. Our lives are far from perfect so how can we ask people to follow us?

A simple solution
Thankfully, inspired by God, Paul shows us what the call to “follow me” looks like when you’re not Jesus.  Paul understood his own sin nature and so when he made the call to “follow me”, he invited people to follow him in-so-much-as He was following Jesus.

As we engage the great commission and make disciples we have to be bold.   We need to quit this ninja-like discipleship, where I’m-attempting-to-disciple-you-but-you-don’t-know-it! Instead, we should approach to the people the Holy Spirit is setting us up to invest in and say, “follow me as I follow Christ”.

In doing this you invite them to examine your life.  You’re asking them to look at what they see in the Word and compare it with your life, then to copy the things they see that are Biblical and to challenge the things that are not.  You’re asking them to search your life for evidence of godliness, then to imitate those.

The trajectory of my relationship with God was changed the day someone asked me to follow him as he followed Christ.  He told me:

“if you hear me talk about a book that impacted me, get it and read it.  If you hear me talk about a sermon that I thought was good, go and listen to it.  And if you see patterns and habits in my life that fuel my intimacy with God, try them.  Copy me as I chase after Jesus.”

Interesting things happen
Interesting things happen when you invite someone to follow you!

Even thinking about making the invitation causes you to see your life from the outside looking it.  It forces you to self-examine and make changes.  After all, you really wouldn’t want someone copying those not-so-great habits you have.

There are special moments when you see the good and godly aspects of your life become foundational in theirs.  There are powerful moments when they ask why you did something a particular way and you realise that you probably shouldn’t have done/said that at all!  By letting them watch and ask questions, they challenge you (often without even realising it).  Sometimes you see them imitate something you said or did that was not God-honouring… and it forces YOU to change, which teaches humility as you go to them and explain why changes have to be made in your life, and now in theirs.

And rather than it being a one-way transaction where you pour into them, it becomes a two-way interaction where they shape your life too.

Discipling is not about having it all together.  It’s not about being perfect.  It’s about being honest.  We simply follow Jesus.  We run after Him, doing whatever it takes to become like Him… then we turn to the people around us and call them to follow us.

Are you skipping this important part of the process?

Be bold, and invite people to follow you as you follow Christ.

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