7 Unexpected Words Every Follower Needs for Growth
As we experience spiritual growth in following Jesus, we can easily get excited about the process, the joy, the adventure and the future. We all want things to be easy all the time but reality does set in! So we must be willing to accept and even embrace some unexpected words that are part of our reality. Jesus promises his followers some great things but also some profoundly uncomfortable and unexpected things to help them grow. Here are seven unexpected and sometimes uncomfortable words we need for spiritual growth.
- Repent – Repentance is the door into our life as followers. To repent means to change our minds. In it’s most complete sense, it means we will turn from our own way to following Jesus. It means that we realize our way is not very good and his way is best. So we change our minds and change our direction.
- Rebuke – No one likes a rebuke but we all need one once in a while. To be rebuked means to be confronted with strong disapproval. It means we have done something seriously wrong. But, if we are serious about following Jesus, we need that rebuke if we really mess up! When God rebukes us it is for our own good. So, we need to listen and heed that rebuke!
- Sin – Sin is the thing that keeps us from following Jesus. Simply, sin is our tendency to do everything to please ourselves. It is selfish and prideful. It is nearsighted and has very poor judgment. It consistently gets us into trouble! Sin causes a big mess in our lives. We repent of sin, meaning we turn away from it, in order to follow Jesus.
- Suffering – Jesus promised that we would suffer because of him. Every follower knows a little about suffering. Many people don’t know what it means to follow Jesus and they tend to ridicule followers. There is strong opposition in the spiritual realm to followers of Jesus. The good news is that Jesus will go with us and strengthen us through the suffering.
- Correction – Okay, this is easier than rebuke but we still don’t really like it, do we? But we should embrace correction as a means to become better followers and more like Jesus! The better we get at following Jesus, the more we appreciate correction because correction helps us follow even better
- Perseverance – The only time you need to persevere is when things are difficult! Since we don’t like hard times, we don’t really like the concept of perseverance. We follow through the hard times staying steady with the help of Jesus’ leadership. By keeping our focus squarely on him, perseverance is possible – and he promised strength for every trial!
- repent – I know I said this already but I want to emphasize the small ‘r’ repentance. When we repent as in the first point above it is that big decisive change of mind and direction from following me to following Jesus. But this repent is the daily attitude that we are willing to change our minds anytime we learn something new – a new attitude, a new revelation about God, a new way to serve, a new way to follow. As followers of Jesus we are teachable so we embrace repentance!
For more about how to follow Jesus see Three Simple Steps to Change Your World.