Sometimes we think we know something to the point that we ignore the basic instructions. A few weeks ago I was putting together a trampoline for my boys as a Christmas present. Since I’d done this thing a couple of times before, I regarded the directions as optional. Bad mistake. After spending a few painstaking hours setting up the frame and pulling ninety-six springs nice and taut, I was finished other than attaching the safety net. With the last trampoline, that was as simple as attached six clips. With this trampoline, however, I found out I was supposed to thread all ninety-six springs through the safety net before I attached them. Two hours later, I’d taken the trampoline apart and put it all back together for a second time. Later on I found that this critical piece of information was sitting in the instruction manual, written in bold even for idiots like me. All I had to do was look.
When it comes to our Christian faith, we think we’ve got it all figured out. We’ve been in church and around Christians for so long, that we assume we know what we’re doing. But when is the last time we actually looked at the basic instructions?
16 As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 17 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 18 At once they left their nets and followed him (Mark 1:16-18). Jesus uses the phrase “follow me” twenty-two times in the gospel. If you want the basic instructions of what it means to be a Christian, this is it.
Notice what Jesus doesn’t say here. He doesn’t say:
- pray a prayer, and you’ll be my disciple
- walk an aisle
- fill out a card
- attend church
- go to Bible study
- behave differently
- believe the right things
Jesus says “follow me.” Being a Christian isn’t about a checklist of things that we try and do to keep God happy. It’s about following a person wherever He leads us. How do you follow a person? Simple. Following Jesus is as simple as identifying and taking the next step.
So this year, here’s a great resolution for 2014: take the next step in your faith in Christ. How do you identify the next step? God will tell you what that is. If that seems a little too mystical for you, Friday we’ll look at four primary ways that God speaks to us.