We live in a world that embraces superficial things, is always looking for whatever is “new and next,” and will ultimately follow things that are only important to them. The moral compass of what is right and wrong is ever-changing, and it seems that every time we turn on the TV something is going wrong. In the middle of this, we do see things that excite us and good things. Maybe it is our kids achieving a goal they have worked hard on, our team excels and is in the state playoffs, we get a promotion at work, we find out that “the news” at the doctor’s office is not as bad as it could have been.
In the middle of all these ups and downs is the prominent priority that is on every Christ followers heart, following Jesus. As a pastor, I get asked all the time, “How do I know if I’m truly following Jesus?” For the most part, at the bottom of this, is a sincere heart that desires to make the name of Jesus famous. While it may not be announced from a stage with a microphone, it seems that many Christ followers, at the same time, feel as if they are consistently wondering what God thinks about them. “Man, I messed up this week” or “Wow, that didn’t go as I had hoped, how did that go so wrong” fills our minds. This leads us to wonder if our commitment to Jesus is genuine. While the enemy is masterful at “getting in our head” and lying to us to take eyes off of Jesus, I believe there are at least four indications that we can tangibly see that affirm we did have a genuine relationship with Jesus, the Savior.
The pursuit of God in His Word. A follower of Jesus Christ is simply this: A person who admits they are a sinner, in need of saving. They believe in their heart that Jesus can forgive them of their sins and have confessed Jesus to be the LORD and Savior of their life (Romans 10:9). It is not a speech given; it is a life lived. After making this life-changing commitment to Jesus, the pursuit of God in and through His Word is the desire of the heart. Every day we wake up and crave to be washed in the Word, wanting to know Jesus more, and leaning into His promises. It is impossible to follow Jesus apart from His Word. It cannot be done. If you claim to follow Jesus then you should be able to comfortably answer these two questions, “What are you reading in God’s Word right now?” and “What is God teaching you as you read His Word?”
The people around us. The people that we allow to influence our lives and the people we in return influence is an excellent indicator if you are following Jesus. If you claim to follow Jesus, then you should be able to comfortably give exact times, groups, and locations in which you are in biblical community. Where is your local church membership? Do you have a small group? How are you serving the body of Christ? This whole idea that “My relationship with Jesus is private” is not biblical. When you read the book of Acts, you see the early church on fire for Jesus, and you see them accomplishing it together (Acts 2:42-47). While a relationship with Jesus is a personal, individual decision, the Christian life is not a solo act. A Jesus follower has people praying for and encouraging them while they are doing the same thing for others. They also have people in their life they are trying to reach with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Our perception of life and eternity. A faithful follower of Jesus has an eternal mindset on all things. When Jesus changes a heart and life, how we deal we conflict, how we react to situations, and how we view what is most important all changes. We do not merely live for the here and now. A Christ-follower knows that eternity is at stake. They do not go to work to make money. While bills must be paid, we go to work and view it as a mission field. A Jesus following high school football player is not merely on the team to break records and get a scholarship. He considers his team as a mission field. A Christ follower wakes up with this on their mind, “Jesus, how can I love and pursue you more today than I did yesterday?”
How we pray. The more we follow Jesus, the more we will be conformed to His ways and thoughts. I love to hear a genuine, heartfelt, prayer of a faithful saint. In this, you will listen to struggles, victories, and a heart for the nations. A loyal Christ follower rarely prays for something that will only benefit themselves. A key question to consider here is, “Do I tend to pray more selfishly or sacrificially?” Your prayers and your “Christmas wish list” should not sound the same. While it is appropriate and encouraged to pray for your walk with Jesus and things on your heart, a Christ follower is always others-focused.
John 15 is an incredible chapter in the Bible. It has great words of wisdom from Jesus about abiding in Him. John 15 shows us that if we are genuinely connected to the True Vine, others will be able to see it. Can others see this in you?
John 15:8 (CSB), “My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be my disciples.”
Click HERE to download the Following Jesus Worksheet which will practically help you evaluate if you have a genuine walk with Jesus.