During Jesus’ earthly ministry, He was often followed by great crowds. The numbers were so great that at times he had to withdraw from them to have time with His Father. However, Jesus challenged the motives of His followers on certain occasions and some “turned away and followed Him no more,” (John 6:66). On such occasions Jesus did not change His message to be more acceptable to the crowds. He let them depart. Wise followers, such as the apostles, did not cease to follow Him. As Peter said, “To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,” (John 6:68).
Today God wants men and women to follow Jesus. Just as in His earthly ministry, Jesus has admirers and followers. The philosopher Sorën Kierkegaard wrote “It is well known that Christ consistently used the expression “follower.” He never asks for admirers, worshippers, or adherents. No, he calls disciples. It is not adherents of a teaching but followers of a life Christ is looking for,(Provocations. P.85). The admirers left Jesus when His message became uncomfortable; the followers changed their lives for the better.
Kierkegaard continues, “What then, is the difference between an admirer and a follower? A follower is or strives to be what he admires. An admirer, however, keeps himself personally detached. He fails to see that what is admired involves a claim upon him, and thus he fails to be or strive to be what he admires,” (Provocations. P.86). Admirers can be seen wearing religious shirts, attending church, or even teaching Bible classes. They like “God things” and can be very excited about the teaching of Christ–until they hear something that they don’t like or condemns a practice they like. Admirers will leave the teaching to Christ or only follow what agrees with them. Followers will say “thy will be done” and change their lives to conform to eternal principles. Being a follower requires complete submission to God and investing ourselves completely in Him.
If you want the truly fulfilled and exciting life with God, learn how to be followers of Christ: not admirers, adherents, or simply worshippers who are around God but not with God.