How do you live?
Several years ago I had a conversation with a friend and her words have stuck with me ever since. Does that ever happen with you? Words from a friend that stick like glue, never leaving you. I believe most of the time the true author of those words are God. He sends personal messages to us and some times it comes through the people around us.
To give some back story, we had just finished a small group bible study and the two of us lingered on her porch. At the time, my three daughters were in middle school and high school. I was gearing up for the next phase in parenting… dating. Trying to navigate three girls and dating was very challenging at times. Who are these boys? What are their intentions? As a mom, what is my role? What is allowed and what shouldn’t be? There were more questions than answers. I needed to find the best parenting manual for dating to ensure I did this “right”. There were too many variables and far too many "what ifs" that would fill my worry tank. Often I would scratch my head wondering, where is this manual? How do I know how to do this right?! I never seemed to find the right parenting book that would speak of parenting teenagers in this day and time. I soon learned the importance of seeking wisdom from women who were older and wiser. Finding moms that I trusted and had gone down this road before me was important. So there I was sitting on the porch seeking wisdom and that is when God gave the words that stuck.
I have always prayed that my girls would choose to date young men who knew the Lord. Life experiences have taught me the importance of dating a “believer". As those words came out of my mouth, my friend finished my sentence by saying… "It is one thing to be a believer and another being a follower...even demons believe in Jesus.” I titled my head and just paused. She had me thinking…
Scripture tells us in James…
“You believe there is one God. Good! But the demons believe in that, too, and they tremble with fear” James 2:19
So what is the distinction between a believer and a follower? What was God trying to teach me? The term believer can be seen as a reflection of the words you say while the follower shows the action. As the age old saying goes, actions speak louder than words. I think this speaks to the significance of the true definition of follower. Webster dictionary defines follower as a person who imitates, copies or takes as a model. A follower of Christ is one who desires to follow His ways, His character and His will. It isn’t just saying you believe in what Jesus says, it takes it a step further by saying, I believe it so much that I want to live in that way.
“You will know them by their fruits” Matthew 7:16
As we studied this week in Matthew 7, Jesus was warning the disciples to take notice of false prophets, who come in sheep’s clothing. From the outside, people can portray any sort of story line they would want. Anyone can make themselves look a certain way for a short period of time. What really matters is what is inside, it is a matter of the heart. “You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by that they they act.” Matthew 7:16 NLT. This verse is one that I use often, as it is a true indicator of what a person believes. When you have a Holy God living inside of you, He doesn’t want to stay dormant, leaving you unchanged. He wants to flourish and bloom within you; changing you from the inside out. The transformation that takes place allows the world to see the difference by the way you live.
Take some time reflecting on your own walk with Jesus. How might He be asking you to follow Him? Would you say your life reflects your beliefs? God is patient, kind, loving and compassionate. He wants us to follow Him because His ways are FAR greater than ours.