Jesus is particular, God is generic. It is easy to follow a generic God because you can fill the term “God” with any presupposition you please; it is difficult to follow Jesus because then you have to take seriously his teachings on discipleship, on what exactly following him entails. Michael Hardin
Following “God” is easy, because it is generic. You can be a “spiritual” person, or a person connected to the “energy” of the world or anything like that easily. Because as Michael Hardin points out, you can choose the things that you will follow or connect with. You can create the path you want to follow. Following Jesus though means following his path. The difficulty path of self-denial and other-centred love. The path that values sacrifice for others, and loving at a level that seems ridiculous at times. But that’s the beauty of Christianity; it’s about Christ. It’s about following him, and not giving into the easy things but shooting for the difficult life transforming things. Things that Jesus teaches us to do like:
- Love your enemies
- Forgive everyone
- Judge Not
- Fear Not
- Worry Not
Each of those things is simple to understand, and will take a life-time to learn to practice. Which is precisely the point. Following Jesus is a path and a journey that takes a lifetime to learn. Learning to love your enemies and that there is no them, only us is incredibly hard. Learning to not let fear and worry have holds in our hearts isn’t a weekend retreat thing. It’s a lifetime thing.
This is why G.K. Chesterton said something truthful in, Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried
But I believe it’s in the trying that life is found. It’s in the striving after following Jesus, his path, and his way of life that life is found.
And my question in all of this is this: if you’re a follower of Jesus are you following his path?
Because as Michael Hardin reminds us, it’s easy to follow “God” following but Jesus means following his path. And his path leads to life, it’s not easy, it’s hard but it’s absolutely worthwhile.
So out of those 5 things listed above (judge not, fear not, worry not, forgive everyone, love your enemies) which one do you need to work on today? Which one do you need to focus on and give some attention to? Which one do you need to try to follow today? Because following Jesus means walking his path, and this is the path he laid down. It’s not an easy one, but it is a life-changing one.