This is something I have been turning over in my head for while. It started as a message/conversation with some high school folks.
While he was on earth Jesus exhibited his power over the things of this world; wind and rain, loneliness, sickness, classism, racism and sexism. In his resurrection he exerted his power over death. So Jesus offers us the gift of forgiveness in the shape of the cross and offers us the gift of life, the life God intended for us here and now and life eternally with Him in heaven, in his resurrection.
How do we take hold of those gifts?
In Jesus' own words: “Follow me.” Follow Jesus, oh man, I'm gonna have to change, I'm gonna have to become all churchy, I'm gonna have to be sad and mope around and pray and stop having fun. Huh??? What????
So what does “Follow me” mean? I think Jesus himself answers this question in Matthew 6
So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well
Matthew 6:32-33 NIV
Our jobs as followers of Christ is to seek first the kingdom of God. What is the kingdom of God?
For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God. And other people will approve of you, too.
Romans 14:17 NLT
For the Kingdom of God is not just fancy talk; it is living by God's power.
1 Cor 4:20 NIV
Follow me is not necessarily saying the right things. Follow me is not necessarily doing the right things. It is much more than that. Those who thought they were saying the right things and doing the right things, the religious leaders of Jesus' day, were missing the point. To many of them, the appearance of kingdom of God did depend right action.
In Luke 17, a group of these religious leaders asked Jesus when they should expect the kingdom of God. He said don't look here or there. Look within. The Greek for within means the soul or the very deepest part of who we are. The meaning of the term for kingdom is not a literal physical kingdom rather the right to exercise authority or rule over.
The Kingdom of God, might roughly be defined as the right or authority of God to rule over the very deepest part of who we are.
At the very deepest levels of who we are God wants to be there. What's there now?
Other people's opinion's of us?
The pursuit of worldly desires?
Is it fear?
What is it that is ruling over the very deepest part of us? Following Jesus needs to be about a daily turning over of the deepest parts of who we are to God. This needs to be our concentration; making room in our soul for the God who loves us, died for us and rose from the dead for us.