Are you a Follower, A Believer, OR a Believing Follower?
Good Morning Friends! I had an interesting question come to my mind as I was teaching the first part of Hebrews 6 the other day. For those of you who know that portion of scripture you know it can be a very difficult one to navigate, however I am so thankful for the study of the Word of God. I believe the more you struggle through understanding scripture the stronger in your faith you will become! It is ALWAYS worth persevering in your study of God and His Word. I want to encourage you in that this morning. One of the things that struck me as I was studying was a sort of side note for me, but I believe a good question for us to ponder. The question came to me, “Are you a Follower, a Believer, OR a Believing Follower?” This may sound weird, but think about this. There are those who follow a movement. They follow what someone is doing. They tag along to get a good look, to be close to the action. I think of our current social media. There is a lot of “Following” with that particular tool! In fact, I have a close family member who follows several beauty bloggers. She loves to see what they are doing and what they are saying, and yet that doesn’t mean she will actually believe in these products, or take what these people are saying seriously. She can be just a casual follower who wants to be close to the action, without ever actually buying in. Now there are also those who actually Believe in a thing. They know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is real, and yet they will choose not to actively follow it or engage in it. I Believe that drinking water is a necessity, and yet just because I believe doesn’t mean I will actually take part in being faithful to drink it. Thinking about this family member of mine who loves to follow beauty bloggers; there are actual products that she knows are the real deal. She has seen, in person, the results. She knows that their claims are true, and yet she is choosing not to actually buy them. She is not willing to put her money where her mouth is. She believes, but she will not make the sacrifice it would take to become a partaker of this thing. Finally, there are those who are Believing Followers! They both believe this is the real deal, AND they are willing to make that sacrifice to continue on with it no matter what! They are ALL IN!! I want us to consider this in light of scripture! We know through the account of the gospels that MANY, MANY people followed Christ. They traveled with Him. They listened to Him, watched Him, and kept up with all He was doing. They were incredibly close to the action, and yet passages like John 6 show us that when following Jesus was going to actually cost them something, when it became difficult, they left! Why did they leave? They didn’t actually believe! John 6 tells the story of the multitudes of disciples following Jesus after He had fed them all. Finally, Jesus calls them out as to their real motive for following Him, and He begins to preach about the truth of who He is. John 6:59-66 records it for us. It says, “Many of His disciples said, ‘This is too hard to understand. How can anyone accept it?’ Jesus was aware they were complaining and so He said…. ‘The very words I have spoken to you are Spirit and Life. But some of you do not BELIEVE Me.’ For Jesus Knew from the beginning which ones didn’t believe… At this point many of His disciples turned away and stopped following Him!” You see, when following became hard, when it would take sacrifice and endurance, they were out! They never actually believed! Now, scripture also tells us of a group that believes and yet has chosen not to follow. Consider what James says in James 2:19. He says this, “You say you have faith, for you believe there is One God. Good for you! Even the demons Believe this and they tremble in terror!” James is saying that it’s great that you believe, but it’s what you do with that belief that’s important. The demons, as well as Satan himself, believe wholeheartedly in Jesus. They know exactly who He is and that it is all true, but they have willfully decided not to submit or follow him. I want you to hear what else James says about this matter. He says, “Faith by itself isn’t enough, unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless…can’t you see that faith without action is useless.” In other words you can believe, but if that belief doesn’t produce action it is of no value to you! IF you believe but do not Follow Christ it is useless to you! Now, I want us to consider the third group, because this group changed the world!!! This next group shows what it means to be Believing Followers!! Going back to our story from John 6, after those following Jesus deserted Him, He then looks at His 12 disciples and says this, “Are you also going to leave?” And Peter replied, “Lord to whom would we go? You have the words that give Eternal Life. We Believe and we know you ARE the Holy One of God!” And these men continued on with Jesus! You see, what Jesus looks for are those who Believe in Him, and who are willing to Follow Him no matter what the cost. He desires those who will endure with Him even when it is difficult. Who believe SO Firmly that they will stay close to Him, and in so doing will become like Him! It is when our Belief is partnered with our Following of Jesus that we become Disciples that can change the World!! I want to encourage you today to Believe and to Follow Jesus as Lord! To have both Faith and Fellowship with Him. It is in the marriage of both of those that we are changed from Glory to Glory into the image of Christ and are able to impact this world with the Kingdom of God! In a world where some may follow for a while and then turn away, and where others may claim to believe and yet do not follow Him with their Lives, Let’s be people who are Believing Followers of Jesus Christ!!
Scripture to read and ponder: John 6, and James 2