When we think about being Christians, what is it that Christ required? Did He ever ask for admirers, adherents, supporters, or seekers? The only thing He asked for were disciples and followers. Jesus didn’t want to be admired; He didn’t want adherents of a teaching; He didn’t even want seekers of truth. What He wanted was a follower of His life.
Christ understood things in a totally different way than what blind people can understand, He understood as one who could see clearly. He had no impaired vision. Jesus understood that being a disciple meant that our inner man was in harmony with everything that He said about Himself. Being a follower meant an understanding of what Jesus was saying when He claimed to be, “the way, the truth, and the life” John 14:6. It was for this very reason that Jesus could not be satisfied with those who said they accepted His teaching and supported what He said, or adhered to some rule of right living, but who’s lives ignored the teaching of His life style and who’s lives took a usual course. Jesus’ whole life on planet Earth was for the express purpose to have “followers” not seekers or want-a-be followers; there was and is no place for admirers or want-a-be’s; He never left us that option.
Jesus came into the world to seek and to save that which was lost, not to instruct in some new way of discovering truth or to even set up Bible colleges. He came to be a pattern for life, a life to be imitated, and a path to follow, to leave footprints for “followers” to follow. Jesus was born and raised in lowliness and there was nothing in his “person” to be admired unless you admire poverty, pain, and scorn.
Well, then, what are the qualities of a follower? What is the difference between a follower and a seeker? This is easy. A follower is one who exerts great effort to be like the one he admires, in every way. A seeker or admirer is one who remains personally detached. He has failed to see that Christ makes a claim on his life and from a safe distance he only acquires knowledge of that which he admires or seeks.
Those who only “seek” or “admire” instead of follow are not necessarily bad people. Many times it is the invention of spineless clergy who themselves are merely admirers and search for creative ways to keep their buildings filled and never reveal the true path to life. Regardless, they read much into the simple teaching and ways of our Lord and maintain a safe distance. Admirers and seekers are related to the one being admired only through the excitement of the imagination and worshiptainment. Like the theater, admirers sit safe and tranquil. They are willing to serve as long as proper caution and timing is exercised, lest one come in contact with danger or miss some episode of Survivor. Being who and what they are they refuse to accept that Christ has made some demand on their life or that Christ’s life is the demand. In very truth they are offended at Him. His radical, bizarre character so offends them that when they honestly see Christ for who He is, they are no longer able to experience the tranquility they so much seek after. Being too close to Him lays their life open for examination. Even though He “says nothing” against them personally, they know their life has been judged.
Too much prayer for truth is a condemning thing if you are not prepared to be a true follower; Christ’s life makes it evident, dreadfully evident; how dreadful it has become to be an admirer or a seeker of truth instead of following it. In the U.S., where there is no danger, where there is calm, where everything is favorable to our Christianity, it is all too easy to confuse a seeker and a follower. It is so very quite. You look around and examine the multitude of worshipers, on any given Sunday, to try and find some distinguishing feature to identify followers, but there is none. The admirer and seeker can be in deep delusion that their display is one of a true follower, when all he is doing is playing it safe. For this very reason you must give heed to the call of discipleship; be careful that you haven’t been deceived into thinking you are a follower when the reality is that you are just playing it safe.
I am not done with this issue. It needs to be covered in more depth. This is no time to play it safe; we need to know what the Bible is saying, then we need to obey it. What we always thought it said or what we have been trained in needs to be re-examined. The Lord Jesus is looking for followers; His return is near. Don’t be deceived.