In the new parlance of today’s church, Christians are referred to as “Christ followers.” It has become a part of the language of the church of the 21st century. You see it in the profiles of people on Facebook and Twitter. I’m not aware of how or when this term took hold, but I like it. I can only speculate as to why this new term is so widely used today. I suspect it is being used as an alternative to “Christian” because ┬ásome believe it is less offensive to unbelievers. To call oneself “Christian” is to identify oneself with the idea of church that is negative in the minds of those who are outside the church and see the church as religious hype and hypocrisy.

I still like the term “Christian”, and remember that it was first used by unbelievers in the 1st century as a label of derision for those who believed and followed Christ. The Book of Acts tells us that these believers first called themselves Christians in Antioch. It’s a term we ought not discard in the church just because the world has its own idea of what it means. Nevertheless, I like the term “Christ follower” because it accurately describes who a Christian is. A Christ follower is one who follows Christ. Simple. Or maybe not. To follow Christ is to be obedient to Christ. A Christ follower is not only obedient to the Gospel for personal salvation, but also obedient to the personal leadership and Lordship of Christ. To be a Christ follower is to obediently follow Christ as a disciple in a lifelong learning relationship.

Life transitions offer some of the best opportunities for learning and spiritual growth. I have learned that obedience inevitably leads us to times of transition and new challenges in our relationship with Christ and in our obedience to ┬áhim. I’m in this period of transition now because of obedience. There’s a reason I’m here, and a part of that reason, I’m convinced, is to learn new lessons in faith and obedience and new depths in my relationship with Jesus.

One thing I’m learning is that obedience doesn’t always make sense at the time – not from our finite understanding and limited perspective of things. But that’s nothing new. What God commanded Abraham to do didn’t make sense, but he obeyed. What he called Moses to do didn’t make sense, but he obeyed. What he sent Jesus to do didn’t make sense, but he obeyed – all the way to the cross! I confess that this period of transition doesn’t make sense to me completely, but in obedience I have to believe that there’s a greater purpose of God that will be revealed.

Jesus used another term for those who believed in him. He called them “sheep.” He said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27) I am learning in a deeper way during this time of transition to listen more carefully for the voice of the Good Shepherd so I can obediently follow him whether or not it makes sense to me or anyone else. Obedience to Christ is profoundly connected to the first two lessons I talk about: trust and humility. Obedience is also connected in a powerful way to the very heart of our relationship with Jesus, which is love. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” (John 14:15) To be a Christ follower is to be a Christ lover!

 

3 Responses to “Lessons Learned in Transition (So Far!) – Obedience”

  1. Much appreciated for the information and share!
    Nancy

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