Do you love God? Jesus asked his disciples this same question. He wanted his disciples to know that loving and following God is not easy. It involves forgiving the very people who hurt you, loving others when you are in pain, and trusting God when everything is falling apart.
Paul understood this truth. He followed Jesus Christ’s example to death. He understood the power of forgiveness, holiness, love, the Holy Spirit, and what Jesus did at the cross. Paul also preached these truths to people, hoping that it would set them free from the need to sin.
At first, Paul did not believe in Jesus and the message of forgiveness. Saul (renamed Paul) was guilty of killing many innocent Christians. However, Jesus came to forgive even Paul.
Paul said that his old nature “died” with Christ. Meaning, his “old self” was a murderer. But once he saw the “light,” he realized that he was wrong and started a “new life” or “new self.”
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What does “I have been crucified with Christ” mean?
The Apostle Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20) This means that Paul’s old nature or flesh has died, and he now lives sacrificially and selflessly to bring others into the Kingdom of God.
Paul was the perfect candidate to continue the work of Jesus. He understood that forgiveness is a free gift that no man can earn or deserve. This truth empowered him to give away forgiveness to those who sought to kill him. Sadly, people stoned, accused, and hurt him for simply talking about the freedom that can only be found in Jesus. Do you love God more than anything? Do you choose to believe even when everything may be going wrong in your life?
Jesus wants to make us aware that Christianity isn’t a popularity club nor a get rich quick scheme.
Jesus wants us to be aware that Christianity is not a popularity club or a get-rich-quick scheme. Christianity involves sacrificing our own desires to help bring others from darkness into light. So, Jesus asked His disciple the question for the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was deeply hurt that Jesus had asked him the question three times, but he replied, “Lord, You know all things. You know I love You.”
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Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep. Truly, truly, I tell you, when you were young, you dressed yourself and walked where you wanted; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God.” – John 21:18
What does being crucified mean?
True Christianity involves submitting to God’s will for your life, situations, and the earth. Often, we desire situations to end perfectly, but Christ’s way ended perfectly in death. This is exemplified in 1 Corinthians 11:1: “Follow Me (Paul’s suffering for the Gospel) As I Follow Christ (Like Jesus, Paul laid down his life to preach the Gospel to sinners).”
Thankfully, we have more religious freedoms than the early disciples did, so our suffering usually looks different nowadays (in some countries). Ultimately, being crucified means being put in situations that make it feel like you are dying. These situations are used to burn out impurities such as selfishness, distrust, control, jealousy, defensiveness, rebellion, manipulation, and fear.
Your crucifixion situation may be a financial crisis, emotional healing, preaching the Gospel in a tense atmosphere, praying for a dysfunctional spouse, or believing for the healing of a child. Everyone’s refinement process is different. Creating this website was one of the situations that refined me. I quit my full-time job and took a significant salary cut because I felt God’s call to create this website. So, I had to die to my pride, selfishness, greed, fear, and distrust. Another situation that required me to die to my flesh was my singleness, which you can read more about here.
If God has called you to persevere in a tough situation, He will give you the grace to do it. Keep praying, reading the Bible, being a good person to everyone, and believing that God will work it out. He will show up powerfully in your life. “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5)
And remember, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Jesus was tempted in every way, yet He did not sin. Jesus only did what He heard the Father doing. And, Jesus forgave, loved, and brought many into the knowledge of the Father. In this way, we should emulate Jesus Christ. We should strive to love people, even when it’s hard, so they too can experience the healing and miraculous power of the Cross.
What are the benefits of following Christ?
There are many benefits to following Christ. Some of those benefits include receiving the power of the Holy Spirit, the spiritual ability to avoid sin, eternal life, a relationship with God, the ability to hear God via dream/prophetic, a purpose filled life, peace in hard situations, strength when we’re tired, an unshakable word, and a community of believers that God will bring to help you move forward in your destiny.
How do you become a follower of Jesus?
You can become a follower of Jesus by accepting Christ, understanding what He has done for you, learning about your holy inheritance, accessing God’s power to avoid sin, and activating your purpose as a world changer who will help bring heaven to earth.
How can we follow Jesus in our daily lives?
- It is essential to learn more about God by not only reading the Bible but also listening to sermons from trusted pastors and teachers. Through these sources, we can gain a deeper understanding of God’s character, His love for us, and His plans for our lives. We can also learn about the historical context and cultural background of the Scriptures, which can enhance our understanding of the text and its meaning.
- Prayer is a powerful tool for transformation, not just in our lives but also in the lives of those around us. We can pray for others to come into a revelation of God, that they would see His goodness, love, and grace, and turn away from the cycle of sin and pain in the world. We can also pray for healing and restoration for those who are hurting, and that God’s peace and comfort would be with them.
- It is crucial to recognize and address any generational curses that may be affecting our lives. These curses can manifest in various ways, such as negative patterns of behavior, emotional struggles, or physical ailments. Through prayer, counseling, and intentional steps towards healing, we can break free from these cycles and renew our minds with the truth of God’s word. We can also seek to unlearn any unhealthy beliefs or practices that we have picked up from the world and replace them with God’s truth and wisdom.
- Learning to love ourselves and embracing the talents and gifts that God has given us is a vital part of our spiritual journey. When we recognize our value and worth as children of God, we can step into our unique calling and make a significant impact in the world. God has given each of us specific talents and passions that can be used to serve others and bring glory to His name. By using these gifts for His purposes, we can experience a sense of fulfillment and purpose that only comes from walking in His will.
- Each of us has a part to play in the Body of Christ, and we are all called to use our gifts and abilities to serve others. This means actively seeking out opportunities to serve in our churches, communities, and beyond. Whether it’s volunteering at a local shelter, helping out with children’s ministry, or simply showing kindness to a neighbor in need, we can all make a difference. When we serve others, we demonstrate the love of Christ and fulfill His command to love our neighbors as ourselves.
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What did Jesus mean by follow me?
Jesus wanted us to follow him in His mission to bring salvation and the truth to legalistic men, non-believers, and those who are lukewarm. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.” Matthew 4:19-20
Jesus said follow me and you will always know which way to go. Following Jesus’ example helps to follow the path to have a strong relationship with God and have the skills to change the world with love. “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
10 Examples Jesus Set for Us to Follow
We should follow the perfect example of Jesus and mimic everything that he does in the Bible because we are called to do greater things than He. We are called to transform the world by teaching the Gospel and bringing people into the love of Christ. Jesus teaches us how to do it with his actions!
- Love sinners, but hate the sin
- Have a lot of quiet prayer time
- Forgive sins
- Judge no one harshly
- Repent & change behavior
- Live truthful and not hypocritically
- Disciple + teach others about God
- Model how to pray for others
- Love the Father + do only what the father is doing
- Live righteously and without sin (which is possible through the Holy Spirit)
"If we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us." 1 John 4:12
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Frequently Asked Questions
Where was Matthew when Jesus said follow me? According to Matthew 9:9, Matthew was at the tax collector’s booth when Jesus said follow me.
Who said imitate me imitate Christ? Paul wants us to Imitate me (copy him) as I Imitate Christ (as Paul copies Jesus’ behavior and righteousness). “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you.” 1 Corinthians 11:1-2
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Follow Christ Verses and Scriptures
- “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1
- “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:8
- “When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Luke 18:22
- Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” Matthew 16:24
- “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.” 1 Peter 2:21
- “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” Matthew 7:21-23
- “And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?” Mark 8:34-37