How to Follow Jesus

Four Parts:Changing Your Life in Christ's ImageJoining a ChurchStudying the Teachings of JesusSpreading the Word

Learning about Jesus, building a personal relationship -- following Him -- is open to you. If you want to deepen your understanding and seek fellowship with Christ and other followers, you can decide how deeply to allow Christ to mold your life in new and fulfilling ways. You can experience, and live as part of, the family of God, physically and spiritually walking in Christ's Life, as part of your personal life, and in sharing community with others.

Part 1
Changing Your Life in Christ's Image

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    Practice helpfulness, openness and humility. Christ and His followers were common men, associated with laborers, helped outcasts such as lepers, and brought hope to other ostracized members of society. They lived on the road, often without a roof over their heads, and spent much of their time in learning, quiet contemplation and preparing to take The Good News to all. While you don't necessarily need to hit the highway and live like a minister, a full time disciple, student or missionary to follow Jesus, it's important to know that you also don't need to be a person of wealth, status, speaking skills or other achievement. God uses the basics, the truth -- simple words and messengers. The less self-centered trappings of the material world, the less distracted you'll be from your message of Jesus: the way, truth and the life. When Jesus says I am the way He is talking about in Heaven. you have to call on Him to forgive you to make it to Heaven.
    • Take little steps to simplify. You don't need to adopt a life of a mission or join a ministry team, necessarily--but get a Bible and study Christ and the Acts of the Apostles and the writings of Paul (much of the New Testament). Instead of entertaining or watching television in the evening, contemplate a particular passage that speaks to you. Pray on it. Think more and do more for Christ, and His people.[1]
    • A common area to work on among Christians, in/of religious traditions, can be self-righteousness, showing vanity. Followers of Jesus shouldn't feel proud of their humility, or boast of their "spiritual" life. As a follower of Christ, simplify, and center your life -- but not because it makes you feel "better than" others: You may choose how to follow because it gets you "closer to" God and to appreciating other believers more, as "God's family", friends; you are one of Jesus' brothers and sisters, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ.
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    Talk more about Jesus. He, despite often communicating in cryptic stories (parables) to the general public, was a direct and completely honest talker to followers, having nothing to hide, and having total confidence in His words, full of the Holy Spirit beyond measure. With friends and accepting coworkers, family and loved ones, be forthright, honest, and direct. Your life will uncomplicate itself as a result.
    • Speaking with hidden motives (wink, wink) and trying to manipulate others is too common in the workplace, at home, and in many interpersonal relationships. Even if you're dissenting nicely, speak your mind with love. Most people respect honesty and decency.
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    Love your neighbor as yourself. So, do not be unnecessarily harsh or judgmental toward others: there is one true Judge. Since "Love never fails" and "God is love!" -- find the kindness in others, being a friend to them: expecting their best, and cultivating positive relationships with people. Don't think more highly of yourself than you ought. Assume you'll enjoy the company of new acquaintances, and learn everything you can from others. Bear your load, and help others bear theirs; tell the truth, and hear the truth, being as happy, patient and kind as possible, through it all. Actively make time for reasonable people who are different than you, having different experiences, who may believe very different things. Listen to them with an open heart, as: "I see what you mean, also have you considered this ___?"
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    Learn a trade or profession. Before He went around preaching the gospel, Jesus spent many years in the trade of Joseph, Mary's husband, practicing carpentry. Devoting yourself to a craft, a trade, or skill, can be helpful in allowing you to humble yourself and live more simply. Be good at what you do, and devote part of your life to providing service for your fellow man, Christian and non. Be useful and reliable.
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    Identify and support the underprivileged. Who lacks voice in your world? Who needs to experience real, open channels of communication and fellowship with others, in less privileged circumstances? Jesus sought out the marginalized and associated with the downcast to share His message, and to help in real ways, not just platitudes but action.
    • Expand your mind and your capacity for empathy by spending time with those less fortunate than yourself. You might consider volunteering at soup kitchens, shelters, or donating your time to other organizations that help those in need. Spend time with people, be friendly and learn from them. Don't be a tourist in their bad times and suffering; help some.
    • Charity. You don't have to be a big donor. Your gift need not be money.
    • Offer transportation, bus fare, a car ride, accompany an elder or sick neighbor to the doctor, or help an unemployed person find low priced or free groceries.
    • Visit widows and orphans in their need. Surprise your grandmother with a call and a visit, with little warning.
    • Cook dinner for a friend having a rough spell and get someone to deliver it anonymously and never bring it up.
    • Write letters of support to children or soldiers overseas, and let them know you care, sending some small gifts.
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    Find a church that fits in with your desires for belief, involvement and charity. Work with church charities. Some churches give a lot of weight to donations, mission-work, and other community operations.
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    Take up your own cross. You don't need to be a martyr to a great cause to follow Jesus, but you do have to fight your struggles for yourself but never alone. Give yourself up to some calling greater than yourself. Stand up for others' benefits in "the good fight", spiritual battle, wherever you find one. Be a watchman for community standards.
    • Christian believers will experience the issues of doubt. No believer is without it. Even Christ endured 40 days of temptation in the desert, clouded by human doubt. He was 100% man and tempted like we, without fail. Even Christ cried out on the cross, "Father why have you forsaken me?", "It is finished. Into your hand I commit myself!" That conflict was ended. Victories over sin, death and the grave came fast behind. You can deal with weakness, temptation, and doubt with patience, and come through as refined gold from the trying of your faith, covered by God's grace.
    • Approach difficulties and struggles with persistence and focus: this defines your life as a person and as a follower of Christ.[2]
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    Seek wisdom and pass along God's gifts. Bring some balance into the lives of serious-minded Christians. Soldiering on in blind devotion to tradition or dogma, while merely warming a church bench does not make you a Christian. Think hard about supporting your beliefs. Weigh them constantly. Thanking God in it all. Struggle and stand for the teachings of Jesus and making them an integral part of your daily life.

Part 2
Joining a Church

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    Find a church that will help grow your relationship with Christ. To the lay person, the tangle of different churches, branches, doctrines, and denominations can be completely overwhelming. There are various specific doctrines to distinguish between the basic modes of thought; however, you can start exploring your options and visit local churches to find a community of which you'd like to be a part.
    • Protestant Churches. If you're interested in the teachings of Christ, in cultivating a personal relationship with Jesus, but less interested in tradition and formality, you're probably interested in a protestant branch of the Church. The most common protestant denominations, each with their own practices and messages, include United Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Assembly of God and Episcopal branches. Non-denominational Christian churches are also common, particularly in the United States.Protestant churches split from the Roman Catholic church in the 16th century, because of various theological disagreements
    • Roman Catholic Church. If you're interested in the Church Jesus Christ established on Peter, a community of sinners seeking Christ in the real presence of Eucharist, and falling deeper in love with Christ through the sacraments He instituted, you might explore Roman Catholic churches in your area. The Catholic Church is a global church, family oriented, and a home for all searching for peace, faith, forgiveness, and mercy through Jesus.
    • Eastern Orthodox Church. If you're interested in traditional and historical ties to Christ, the Orthodox church is conservative and serious. The Eastern Orthodox Church maintains apostolic succession, valid sacraments, and great communities for genuine devotion to Christ. The Eastern Orthodox Church is primarily based in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and across Russia, and split from the Catholic church in the 11th century.
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    Fellowship with other followers. Try attending a few different churches and talk to the members you meet. One of the most important aspects of following Jesus and developing a personal relationship is in sharing beliefs and relationships with others. Finding a community of like-minded believers can be a comfort to followers of Jesus, giving a sense of community, family, and tradition.
    • Don't be afraid to visit lots of churches. Feel it out. Find out if the ministers or preachers have open office-hours during which you might visit and discuss your desire for community. Ask for assistance. Churches are generally thrilled to gather new members.
    • Talk to other members and church staff about the process of joining the church, once you've decided on one you like. Typically, you might need to attend a short class and complete a baptism .
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    Get baptized. Depending on which church you end up wanting to join, your membership will likely be symbolized with a public baptism. The process itself is relatively simple--the pastor may immerse you (or in some denominations sprinkle your head). Baptism symbolizes a new life and being baptized as Jesus himself was, has significance in following Jesus, which is huge for Christians. This can be a powerful and moving commitment of your life to Jesus. If you want to follow Jesus, baptism is an important step in that journey.
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    Be more than a member of your church. Now you've signed up, gotten baptized, and are a card-carrying member of a church. This is an achievement, but your life in Christ has only just begun. It's good to go to church twice a week, say your bedtime prayers, and read your Bible. But, following Jesus is a full life that no amount of routine can define.
    • Only you can develop a personal relationship and a personal following of Jesus. Spend time in deep contemplation of His teachings. Read widely and variously. Spread the word. Live the challenge of yournew life in Christ and let your mind be transformed.

Part 3
Studying the Teachings of Jesus

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    Learn about the Biblical Jesus. In the Bible, the story of Jesus appears in the four gospels -- the books Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John -- which all tell the story of Jesus with somewhat different ordering and content. According to these gospels, Jesus is the son of God, immaculately conceived to a virgin, Mary, and born in a stable/manger. He was baptized in the river Jordan by the Baptist St. John, after which He became more than a prophet of God and a leader of men. He was crucified at Golgotha, laid in a tomb, and reborn after three days to ascend to Heaven. Christians believe Christ paid for the sins of humanity, that we may be saved by believing in His provision. Most Christian theologies and doctrines separate the life of Christ into five stages:
    • The Baptism of Christ is recorded in Matthew 3, Mark 1, Luke 3, and John 1. The Baptism is important because it marks Christ's public beginnings as a prophet and a teacher.
    • The Transfiguration refers one of Christ's major miracles, in which His followers observe Him radiate holy light on the top of the Mountain of Transfiguration, after which Moses, Elijah, and God communicate with Him. The episode appears in Matthew 17, Mark 9, and Luke 9, but does not appear in the Gospel of John.
    • The Crucifixion refers to the arrest, torment, and execution of Christ. He was arrested in Gethsemane, charged with blasphemy, crowned with thorns, beaten, and nailed by the hands and feet to a wooden cross, His side pierced with a spear, and He died. Christians believe His crucifixion was voluntary or at least a willing laying down of His life on behalf of humanity, of the entire Earth, not for one nation or people. The crucifixion appears in Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, and John 19.
    • The Resurrection refers to the rising of Christ from His tomb, three days after having been laid to rest. He appeared over a period of 40 days to His followers, during which His body was no longer subject to the laws of nature. This event is celebrated by Christians on Easter Sunday, and recorded in Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and John 20.
    • The Ascension refers to an event in which Jesus called His disciples to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, spoke to them, and ascended into Heaven, promising to return and restore the Kingdom of Heaven. The event is recorded in Mark 16 and Luke 24, as well as in Acts 1, and the first book of Timothy chapter 3.
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    Learn what Jesus taught. During His life, Jesus traveled and ministered to crowds of thousands and to individuals, and His teachings are found in the Biblical Gospels and in some other books of the Bible. His teachings mostly appear in the forms of parables and stories, which are often cryptic, poetic, complex, and beautiful. The book of the Bible in which Jesus speaks and teaches the most is Matthew.[3] Some of the most important teachings of Jesus include:
    • The Sermon on the Mount, which appears in Matthew 5-7. This contains the Lord's Prayer and the Beatitudes, which feature prominently in Christian discipleship in terms of theology and belief. If you want to know what Jesus and His followers believed, this is an important chapter to read.
    • Be Baptized with Holy Spirit: Acts 1:4 "Gathering them together, Jesus commanded them to wait at Jerusalem, until they receive what the Father had promised, " 'Which,' He said, 'you [have] heard of from Me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.' "
    • The Mission Discourse, which appears in Matthew 10. This describes Christ's expectations of the behavior of His disciples, instructing them in their behavior and worship. It's a very important chapter to read to learn how to be a good follower of Christ.
    • The Parables, which appear periodically throughout all the Canonical Gospels, specifically in Matthew 13, Mark 4, Luke 12-18, and John 15. These are deceptively-simple stories told by Jesus, featuring complex metaphors, and dealing with a variety of a topics. Famous parables include the "Good Samaritan," "The Leaven," and "The Two Debtors."
    • The Farewell, which appears in John chapters 14-17. These record Christ's address to His disciples the night before His death, following the Last Supper. It's one of the most moving and powerful series of passages in the Bible. He promised to abide with you always, John 14:16-17 "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of Truth (and receive The Holy Spirit), whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you..."
    • The Olive Discourse, which is recorded in Mark 13, Matthew 24, and Luke 21. This is a prophecy told by Christ, in which he predicts the end times, times of great tribulation, and describes His return. Interpretations of the prophecy vary widely.
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    Learn about the historical Jesus. Jesus, a leader of men with humble beginnings, appears not only in the Christian Bible, but in other historical records and religious traditions. Roman historians Josephus and Tacitus made record of His existence in the early Christians, disciples who formed and taught shortly after His death. Josephus wrote that Jesus was a "wise man" and a "learned teacher," and both recorded His execution as a major historical event.[4]
    • Born at some point between 2 and 7 B.C., in a small town in Nazareth called Galilee, most historians agree that Jesus of Nazareth was most likely a carpenter, who experienced visions and was accepted as a teacher and healer in the community.[5] His Baptism and Crucifixion are generally accepted as historically certain.
    • Christ appears in other religious traditions as well. Islam claims Jesus as another in the line of prophets to Mohammed, while practitioners of Hinduism place Jesus comfortably as one of the avatar incarnations of Vishnu, depending on the specific tradition in practice.
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    Bring Christ into your world. One of the most difficult things about understanding the teachings of Jesus is trying to understand the ancient world described in the Bible. Somewhere in all the "thous" and "thees," the message can get a little muddied. This makes it important to try to place Jesus in your world, imagining what he would have to say about your life and the world at large. Jesus has a lot to say about how the world could and should be, addressing greed, charity, and--above all--love.[6]
    • Perhaps more than any other figure throughout history, the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth have been misquoted, misinterpreted, and misrepresented. If you want to follow Jesus and allow this devotion to reshape your life in the image of Christ, you need to learn about Him in the Bible, not on cable news specials, street tracts, or the sermons of a preacher. Go to the source. Study His words. Struggle with them. Bring them into your life.
    • The Christian Bible, taken by most Christians to be the "Word of God," is a document with a fascinating and a storied history worth studying. It didn't appear out of thin air in 20th Century American English. The more you read in previous translations, the closer you may be to the real messages of Christ in the Bible. Be careful whose revision (interpretation) you accept and believe.
    • Interpreters [bold] word choices can change the sense, feel, and impact of crucial texts and make a text seem more casual. Are these new, subjective interpretations, with shades of meaning, when you want trusted, objective translations? Jesus had no guile/treachery in Him (but interpreters?). Scriptures tell us of Jesus who said "I am the truth, the life, the way.", and also promised peace and freedom, saying: "the truth shall set you free".
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    Develop a personal relationship with Christ in prayer. If you're just starting to learn about Jesus and want to deepen your understanding and your relationship, start praying.
    • There's no right way to do it: you don't need to do it out loud, but you can if it feels right to you. You could look into getting a Christian prayer book if you like formal prayers, but explore meditating and reaching out to Jesus to see how it feels. Confide, communicate, and question.

Part 4
Spreading the Word

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    Teach others about Jesus, when you're ready. When you feel more confident and learned in your beliefs, share it with others. Don't hide your belief, but wear it as a badge.
    • If others are unwilling to listen or learn, don't thrust your belief onto them. Too many arguments occur as a result of an unwillingness to listen. You don't have to convince someone that you're right, or that they're long. Talk about your relationship with Jesus, and what you've learned from your studies. That's the best you can do, and the most honest approach.
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    Volunteer your time and resources to the church. Churches can only exist and flourish with small donations from the attendees. Try to share a bit with your church, and donate some time to help it be successful.
    • Invite others to your church to grow the fold. You don't have to guilt people into it, but rather treat it as a fun activity and invite people: "Would you like to come to church with me this weekend? I'd love to have you visit with me."
    • If you're a tradesman, consider donating some of your time to the upkeep of the church. If you know about electrical work, that's one less thing that'll need to come out of the till. If you can lead a prayer group, that's one less thing for the pastor to worry about. Take on responsibilities to become a stronger member of the church.
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    Travel and consider devoting time to mission work. As you expand your belief and your relationship with Jesus, it's important to avoid getting stagnant in your way of life. It's easy to think we've got everything figured out, that all our problems are solved. We've got Jesus! It's easy to become small-minded.
    • To avoid ruts, get out of your comfort zone every now and then. See other places, read other types of books, embrace counter-arguments and other ways of thinking. Be a thoughtful and righteous person in the world.
    • Many churches organize mission trips, often with Habitat for Humanity, building houses or performing other services in many regions of the world. Consider organizing a mission trip at your church, or participating in one. It can be a moving experience.


  • Develop a daily prayer routine. Try to pray whenever you can, formally and informally.
  • Be firm in your belief. When you mess up, ask for forgiveness. Remember you have an advocate with the Father who makes intercession for you daily.
  • Talk about your beliefs with your family and friends.
  • Giving money to the Church is a good way to be charitable.
  • The Bible talks about receiving exceeding joy (happiness) that is too good to be described, based on Jesus, "Whom having not seen, you love; in whom, though now, you see him not, yet believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory..." (1 Peter 1:8).
  • You can be happy for your faith, but don't hold it over people.
  • Talk to God by your heart.


  • Following Christ may lead to a call to life of adventure in great endeavors on mission fields or into physical danger at the hands of haters in your own yard -- so go for the challenge.

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Categories: Christianity