Following Christ Is Not Just Being Nice
Recently I’ve been wondering how Spirit-filled life of a follower of Christ should really look like. I am certain that being a Christian does not just mean being nice. Yet, so many of us live their lives according to our own fancies and the expectations of the society. We might do some good deeds here and there to feel good. But we are not radically altering our lives. Life as we know it is easy, comfortable, and safe. And we don’t want to rock the boat.
But is this the way to live an unforgettable life?
Is this the way to make a difference?
Is this the way to follow Christ?
Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life. (Gal 6: 7-8, MSG)
John Ortberg points out that “the decision to grow always involves a choice between risk and comfort. This means that to be a follower of Jesus you must renounce comfort as the ultimate value of your life.” Following Christ is not just being nice.
If someone claims, “I know him well!” but doesn’t keep his commandments, he’s obviously a liar. His life doesn’t match his words. But the one who keeps God’s word is the person in whom we see God’s mature love. This is the only way to be sure we’re in God. Anyone who claims to be intimate with God ought to live the same kind of life Jesus lived. (1 John 2: 4-6, MSG)
We are called to follow Christ’s example. We can’t do it on our own. But the Holy Spirit in us empowers us to follow Christ and live radically for God Almighty.
Being nice is not enough.
Seeking entertainment and fun experiences is not enough.
Using our lives selfishly is not enough.
We need to follow Christ. And stick with it.
My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence? (Gal. 5: 16-18, MSG)
If we want to follow Christ it means that our lives are not going to be ours anymore. We are to follow Christ wherever he leads us. God is calling us for a radical life-change. Being nice is not enough. But how does a life wholly devoted to God look like? This is what I am praying about daily. I am praying that God would show me -clearly- what he wants me to do. Today, next month, next year, next decade and beyond. It is scary to leave the choice to God. But I do know there’s nothing I desire more than being used by God for his glory.
Everyone’s calling is different. Only God can tell you how he wants you to live your life. But the common thing is that each of our lives need to be wholly yielded to God. We need to operate out of love, not out of fear. We need to be open for God’s guidance, God can do so much more with our lives than we ever could. We need to trust God to catch us as we take leaps of faith as he is calling our names.
Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. (Gal. 5: 25, MSG)
Faith is meant to be lived out. Following Christ is a radical way of life. Following Christ is about…
…serving God with everything we’ve got.
…loving the people sends into our lives.
…letting the Holy Spirit change us inside out.
…saying ‘yes’ when God asks us to do something.
…putting God first, everything else second.
We don’t just want to let our lives pass by,
we want to live fully in you!
Show us clearly what you want us to do with our lives.
Prepare us, empower us, always abide in us.
May your will happen in our lives!
May our lives be fully yielded to you!
May we bring glory to you!
In Jesus’ name,
Q4U: What does following Christ mean to you?
Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you life fully by following Christ!
Image courtesy of Jose Fares. Linking up today with Brag on God Friday.
7 thoughts on “Following Christ Is Not Just Being Nice”
This is an excellent article. This is concentrating on the real thing and asking the right questions. It is so easy to fool oneself and pretend to be a follower of Christ. I’m able to do that, too. There are so many ways to go astray and let Jesus disappear on the horizon while we are in the midst of our “devotional times” and “religious practices”. We (as westerners) often concentrate too much on doctrine. We also put too much focus on “gathering” instead of “scattering” (Wolfgang Simson). We do need to listen those, who have been in the middle of recent revivals in Asia and in other developing countries. For me it was very useful to read K.P.Yohannan’s book “The Road to Reality”. But I think, there is no perfect answer to these questions, but daily prayer and seeking the Lord and saying like Isaiah “Here I am, send me”. We have to watch over us that we can be available to God. The spiritual growth in our own walk with the Lord is essential. The last task I received was this: “Go, I’ll send you forth in the midst of wolves”. It’s not easy, not public, not very honourable. It may be just the opposite we would like it to be. But on the other hand, life is diverse including many different things at the same time, nice things and uncomfortable ones. But if we do not recognize the precence of the cross in our lives at all, we are perhaps in the midst of our own businesses.
Thank you Mari-Anna for this article (&the whole blog of yours)! Gos bless you and guide you!
Thank you so much, Simo, for your thoughtful comment! I agree with you wholeheartedly. Being religious does not mean necessarily that we are following Christ. We do need to be alert and constantly seek God’s guidance in this. It is so easy to get busy with irrelevant things and settle for being nice.Thanks again for sharing. God’s abundant blessings to you!
Thank you, Mari-Anna, for such a clear exhortation to boldly follow Christ…right out of our comfort zones!
What does following Christ mean to me? Too many things to summarize in one comment. I completely agree with you, though, that it means much more than being nice, and requires stepping outside comfort zones. It includes trusting God to conform my character to the image of Christ, no matter what that requires or how long it takes.
Thank you, Joseph, for your comment! Yes, following Christ does mean stepping out of our comfort zones but when we do it in faith we will not regret it. Not because everything would be easy but because then we are in the center of God’s will for us. Thank you for sharing. God’s best for you!
“A choice between risk and comfort.” How true that is. I want to follow Christ. Your post just had me saying, “yes, yes.” God certainly speaks through you, dear friend. I love how you follow Christ.
Thank you, Pamela, for your kind and encouraging words. When we say “yes, yes” to God, he will certainly respond. Abundant blessings to you, sis!
Awesome!! Love this, thank you!