A Follower of Jesus? Definition

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You’ve heard this one, right?

We’re called to follow and live like Jesus lived.

Why is that?

Are you good enough?

Is there a way we ‘should’ act as believers?

Do I have to vote a certain way??!  Read to find out … 

A Follower of Jesus? Definition

There’s the term ‘Christian’ and then there’s the term ‘Follower’.  I can tell you that if you believed in him, Jesus wouldn’t care which one you claim. 

But, the basic difference is that the ‘Christian’ label can be fairly broad to include family values, social traditions, and church history.

I find this label is on the Christian Coalition, whose current purpose is to assure that Obamacare is repealed and replaced. 

It’s debatable, but I don’t see Jesus joining that fight.

So I personally use the word ‘Follower’ for my situation and beliefs.  But it’s also important to distinguish the question at hand, “what is the definition of a follower of Jesus?”, with other pictures that come to mind when you use the word ‘Christian’.

And so the rest of this article will use the word ‘Follower’.

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What are the Requirements of being a Follower?

There’s no doubt about it … you aren’t good enough.  Because of your tendency to be rebellious and to have your own way, you can’t do enough (I’ve got some of that).

Or, for those of you who have tempers:  your continued failure to control whatever urges makes it impossible for you to claim that your intentions are decent (I’ve got some of that, too).


The above reasons are why no one, not one person … not even Mother Teresa … qualifies as a perfect. 

No person can do enough to restore the relationship with God broken in the beginning, in the Garden of Eden.


The Apostle Paul put it this way:  we need a savior.  He explains it much better than me.  Please take a moment to read the pop-up verse in this sentence.

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The First Step

The very first thing, accept what Jesus is saying to you:  he is the Bread of Life, and your life will flourish because of believing on him.  (That’s agreeing to lean on him, not just having head knowledge of him.)

You accept that he came to this earth specifically as a life offering.

His blood sacrifice has permanently healed your relationship with the Father.  God no longer sees that you miss the mark with him.  He only sees Jesus, who stands before the throne of God on your behalf.

He came to remove that burden from you.  Now, you can have life and have it to the full.

Starting with this life.

For foundation info, see this article on the Trinity of God (article here) – named Yahweh – and learn more about why Jesus came.  Read more about how God reached out to mankind (article here).

It’s important to understand that Jesus is telling us about Yahweh, the God of the Jews — and not a universal belief of some god.

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The Next Steps

Dedicate yourself to spiritual maturity.  Don’t freak out.  I’m not saying you need to act like you’re older!  The goal is to learn how to become the best you and to learn how God calls you to serve him and humanity.

You’ll mature in your own time.  For now, find a church you like and get a bible.

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How is being a Follower Different from Other Religions?

We’re made to be like Jesus — but how is that different from any other god?  Isn’t following Jesus and his teachings just like following Buddha, Mohammed, Krishna or anybody else?


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Reason #1

Other religions instruct works — saying the right prayers, doing the right things — as a path to salvation, hoping it will be enough.

But following Jesus teaches that we all need grace because we can’t be good enough, as the paragraph above about Mother Teresa implies.  

Jesus came and said that no amount of religion will save anyone or to make their life flourish.  He said that it’s only by understanding this central point of grace — and having faith that his grace is sufficient — that true life is achievable.

This grace is available to all who ask for it.  No strings.

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Reason #2

We must change our behavior, other religions pose — under our own power.

In contrast, Yahweh himself said he’ll supply the means we need to change our lives, if only we’d believe on him.

The transformation God asks of us happens naturally — we allow God into our lives and let him do the work.  This happens through the power of the Holy Spirit: our help navigating this broken world.

A free gift from God for those who believe, the growth and change comes from him, not from within ourselves.  It’s the work of Yahweh, not any work we can boast about.

That’s not to say we stop working on being a better person.  It means as we are faithful to learn, he is faithful to be with us.

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Reason #3

Most religions motivate people with rewards only reachable through threats.  Jesus motivates us through grace and love.

Make no mistake, Jesus spoke of the fires of hell.  But it’s wrong to focus on the consequence of eternal separation from God (hell) when we need to use that energy to better ourselves.  Jesus spoke many more words in scripture about the goodness and fullness of life ahead of us.

We make a larger impact for God by spreading faith and hope.  And by sharing his grace and love.

We obey God, not out of fear**, but out of thankfulness for what he’s done for us.  And we’re eager to learn more about what his instructions mean for our life.

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Religion says: ‘do’. Jesus says: ‘DONE’.

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**Fear as used in the original language of the bible means ‘respect’ and ‘awe’, not the negative connotation of the word we use today.

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What am I Called to Do?

We’re all called to recognize we’re more than just flesh and blood.

We have an eternal nature, and that nature means much more than just life after this one.

We’re called to begin the fullness of life right now.  That fullness includes discovering our design and purpose.

We are called to be salt and light in this world


There’s fulfillment waiting for us, personally.  There’s real joy in discovering exactly how we can be of service to God and humanity.

We’re called to be salt and light to this world.

Jesus lives in eternal glory.  And he says we can join him in that glory, if we trust him.

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Why Should I Care about Spiritual Growth?

1 Peter 1:

15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”[a]

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Why should I care about spiritual growth?  Out of sheer love for God, who proved he loved me first.

We can only accomplish lifting each other up in this life by become better versions of ourself … learn to focus less on our lives and use our energy to serve more.  We learn to relate better with people in the world – whether or not they believe as we do.

We care about becoming more mature in our faith because of the same three reasons being a follower of Jesus is different:

Reason #1 – the same grace afforded us is shown to others in all matters!  God has shown us his grace as an example for our lives.

Reason #2 – the work of transformation God is doing within us to make us better is a free gift.  We uncover our unique abilities to enjoy a better life and further the tangible kingdom of God.

Reason #3 – We’ll learn about having the peace in life that passes all of our current understanding.  We continually learn how grace and love transforms our hearts.

And we plug in to the power source, the free gift of the Holy Spirit, to accomplish all.

As the Apostle Paul said to the Philippians in chapter 4:

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Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. 

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Do I Have to Vote a Certain Way Now?!

Let me give you all the information you need from Matthew 22:

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15 Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words.16 They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. 


17 Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax[a] to Caesar or not?”


18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, 20 and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”


21 “Caesar’s,” they replied.

Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

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I don’t think Jesus cares about how you vote or who you vote for.  But he does care that you understand the kingdom of God is a complete mind-shift away from many things we think are important.


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Join the Conversation

Do you agree the above is the definition of a follower of Jesus?  Do you have questions about any aspect of the three reasons being a follower of Jesus is different from other religions?

Would you leave me a comment to help others who may come by and read this page?  Please share this with your group of friends and with family.

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Steve Cass at createwealthonline.comAbout Steve 

A working guitarist, guitar designer, songwriter, worship leader and online entrepreneur who is passionate for telling others about the story of God.


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  • Andrew Reece

    I read the entirety of this article, and I have a perspective of Catholicism that is so ‘marginal’ in how I approach the curriculum and documentation that I try to make my opinion as inoffensive as I possibly can because I think that there are a lot of people who should be allowed to worship God and Jesus Christ in the very-much-accommodating degree of freedom that the doctrine permits them to do.

    That being said. I would like to say that any posts that I make on unrelated subjects or people that do not have a specifically religious nature as well as intent, I would be comfortable with asking the reader to evaluate the posts I make on the non-religious material, separately if it makes them more comfortable.

    The posts on this website directly reference Christian Biblical Scripture and specifically name God The Almighty and Lord Jesus Christ, and as such, I will respect what this post contains and believe that its content is the way that it is, for a specific purpose that would most assuredly involve these two beings, or men, or deities, wanting it to be there. There are some lines that spoke to me, one in particular, that involved asking a question of the reader: “What are the Requirements of being a Follower?” The answer to the question was as follows: “There’s no doubt about it … you aren’t good enough.”

    I agree with this entirely. I’m not a very disciplined man. I’m arrogant, sadistic in my thoughts at times, harsh, and prone to cursing and obscenities. I listen to music some might find offensive and I’m a drug addict. It’s one of the more benign drugs you could be addicted to, but drug addiction I suppose is drug addiction, whether the drug is prescribed or not. I take more than I should, but I try to utilize my time spent this way, in a manner or activity I would believe to be constructive, or productive, more times than not.

    Again, I want to specify that my experiences are personal, and as such, not to be taken by anyone reading this as an intended course of action for themselves. Maybe I do some of the religious activities, like praying, or supplicating, I believe it is called, in the wrong way it is intended to be participated in. But I can say that when I read scripture and contemplate the beings that comprise the Catholic Faith, which I am a member of, I become afraid at times. I believe that one of the reasons for this is that I constantly think about many of them. I obsess over them at times, always wondering if they would approve of what I do, what I think, how I take actions, how I react to stimuli in my environment. It’s extremely stressful and painful for me to endure at times. I’ve learned to deal with the fear I feel in these situations in a way similar to the way I deal with fear in my interactions with people in my life.

    It’s a great thing that you are letting people know that it’s more involved with awe and respect than actual fear, because people don’t need to be terrified when worshipping their deities. Just because I’ve made blunders in the past and when I make them, I always assume the absolute worst result so I end up apologizing, or taking Actions of Contrition, doesn’t mean that I’m the kind of man who would take pleasure in seeing innocent people endure humiliation or instill terror in them. One of the most beautiful details I see in a lot of the old artwork for specific Catholic or Christian Biblical Events is the expressions of the people just standing and wanting to behold the beautiful events that are transpiring in front of them. I become almost overcome with emotion when I think of a person just wanting to live a normal life and not hurt anyone, being able to do exactly that, free of fear or intimidation. I have my own feelings on how those people should be always kept safe from danger of any kind, or sort. But I don’t want to get overly harsh in a post like this. I just wanted to make a friendly, inoffensive post because I read it around the same time I finished the Gospel of Luke in my copy of the New American Bible, and I saw a passage that I had been thinking of in my head which I was really trying to probably over-analyze in my head. The passage you reference is from Matthew and again, mine was from Luke. It’s basically the same, the wording isn’t something I really scrutinized, but the basic idea of it really made me think about how the Romans and the Jews interacted in this time period. Nothing I would want to start elaborating on, but I thought it was wonderful because it pertained to my specific life experience which was reading that passage a day or so previous. I just like the feeling I get when I read Scripture and then it just, pops into some other part of my life. It makes me feel like people are thinking about me, it makes me feel safe if I’m lonely or scared at home.

    Have a good night, I hope you had a good weekend. I have a Twitter Page, that you could probably find if you searched, but it’s not meant to be associated directly with anything I talk about in this post. I was going to link it, but I believe it would be a mistake because some of my content is extreme or explicit in nature, and not intended to, again, be juxtaposed against this post because I intended no harm by typing this.

    It’s very good that

    • Steve Cass


      I can relate a bit because I grew up Catholic. I stopped going to Catholic church on a regular basis as an adult and began attending “evangelical” churches. I have nothing at all against the Catholic church. But I was able to learn more about God away from her. It just seems to me that the Catholic church WAS (probably better now) more about the Church than it was about an individual’s knowledge and RELATIONSHIP with God.

      I wrote this series of articles (all under the Home Page Discussions pull-down menu) for the reason to start conversations around looking at who God is as a whole, and not as sound-bites or individual verses that you and I grew up with and hear about in the news. I know, individual verses are often what we gravitate to.

      When I asked “What are the requirements for following Jesus” and the next thing I wrote is “there’s no doubt about it, you’re not good enough” I was hoping to convey that the majority of us think we have to be good in order for God to love us. But we don’t have to, because God loved us first. That’s what the New Testament is trying to tell us. That’s what the apostle Paul was writing in the quote from Romans 3:21 below that: no one is good. Not you, not me.

      But it doesn’t matter if we’re not good. We’ve all been reconciled with God through the death and resurrection of Jesus.

      The bible is certainly full of information, but the basic message is simple: God loved us first. We fall away from him. All the time and many times within a day. Jesus came to tell us we don’t need to fall away from him anymore. None of us have to try and be good, we only have to believe in the promise of Jesus that tells you and me that he will always be with us. Every day.

      This connection with God not only gives us a real peace about life and who we are, but it connects us with the power that we have in our relationship: the power that we can align our purpose in life with how he built you and how he built me. We can tap into that power and accomplish more in life that without him in our lives. There’s where the paradise on earth resides.

      All the best to you,

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