Summary: To describe ourself as a "Christian" is an awesome responsibility that is not to be taken lightly. We must strive to live so that others might actually see the SPIRIT and the DIVINE NATURE OF JESUS CHRIST present in all that we say and all that we do.
What Does It Mean to Be a Follower of Jesus Christ?
’Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.’
The entire 5th chapter of Paul’s letter "to the saints at Ephesus".. (Ephesisans 1:1) centers upon them living before a wicked and unbelieving world, holy and sanctified lives; that others might see Jesus present throughout the conduct of their daily lives. Paul’s words were "Be ye followers of God, as dear children." The spiritual genes of Jesus are to be seen in the way we live and conduct ourselves each and every day.
Notice the word "therefore" in Ephesians 5:1 (quickview) , "Therefore, be ye followers of God ..." To understand the word "therefore" we have to go back and see what Paul was referring to just prior to this verse. Because, he is still speaking about what was being referred to in the end of chapter 4. The subject has not changed; it continues throughout chapter 5.
In the end of chapter four Paul is talking about the change that takes place, first in our hearts and then second, in our daily lives. When Jesus comes into us and forgives us of our sins and then cleanses us and places His own Spirit within us. When Jesus forgives us and cleanses us with His own blood, the old man of sin, Satan, is "put off" (5:22) and we "put on the new man" ( 5:24) which is Jesus Christ. When grace and mercy comes into our heart, Jesus is "created in us." (5:24) we are as Paul once described; "It is no longer I that lives, but Jesus Christ that lives in me." That is the only way it becomes possible for any of us to live the expected Christian life. We cannot live as Jesus unless Jesus lives within us.
If there would have been a way possible for humanity to live a righteous and holy life on their own, God would never have sent His only Son into this world.
Once we attach ourselves to Jesus and refer to oursleves as "Christians" then we are to strive to live so that others may truthfully notice Jesus Christ alive and being active through us. This is what Paul meant when he said, "Be ye followers of God, as dear children." I once saw a picture of a little boy trying to follow his father’s footsteps. His large steps could clearly be seen in the snow. The young boy was trying as hard as he could, stretching those little legs of his, placing his little feet where his father’s had been. Step by step, he was following his father’s pathway. Isn’t that what Jesus longs from us? That when others look at us, examine us and even try us; they will only see one set of footprints. Our steps are hidden in His steps, our lives are hidden in His life, and our spirit is hidden in His spirit.
How can we be like Jesus? The word "follow" here is taken from the word "mimetas" which means to imitate, to mimic, or to be an example of the life Jesus lived. Recall in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus looked at His disciples and proclaimed, "ye are the light of the world, a city that is set on a hill cannot be hid." And He went on to say, "Men do not buy a candle and then light it and place it under a bushel so that it cannot be seen. No, they light the candle and then place it upon a candle stick so that it can omit light that can be seen throughout the entire house." When Jesus comes into our heart, He wants to shine through us. He wants others to see Himself in us. This calls for us to live an humble life, a submissive life and a self sacrificing life.