Here are three ways that we should be following Christ.
Sharing in His Sufferings
Most people would love for Christ to share with them, but how about this; how about sharing in the sufferings of Christ? Most might not want that, but for this very purpose, we are called. The Apostle Peter tells us to “rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed” (1st Pet 4:13). The Apostle Paul adds, “as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too” (2nd Cor 1:5) so “that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Phil 3:10). That’s what it means to follow Christ.
Sharing in His Persecutions
If people hate you because you believe in Christ, you’re in very good company. Jesus said, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you” (John 15:18), “and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Matt 10:22), so Jesus reminds us, “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours” (John 15:20). That is truly following in Christ’s footsteps.
Sharing in His Mission
We know that Jesus came into the world to give His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45), but He also said that “the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). That was His mission and purpose and it is ours too as Jesus told the disciples (and us), “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt 28:19-20). This is an imperative command and those who truly follow Christ, follow His orders.
There are other ways that we can follow Christ, but no less than sharing in the sufferings of Christ; than sharing in His persecutions and being hated because of Him; and sharing in the mission to seek those who are lost as given in the Great Commission. There is no plan B. Following Christ means doing what Christ did, and that will mean we have to step out of our comfort zone.