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  • Writer's pictureJan Weihl

Christian vs Follower (Mark 8)

CIf someone asked, "Are you a Christian?" most of us would likely say "yes" without hesitation. But what if the question was, "Have you committed your life to being a follower of Christ?" That question may result in more hesitation, wouldn't it?


A 2020 Pew Research study shows that about 64% of Americans identify as "Christian." That's just the percentage of people who answer "yes" to "Are you a Christian?"


What do you think the percentage would be if the question asked was, "Have you committed your life to being a follower of Christ?" It would be tremendously less, wouldn't it?


But Jesus made it clear in Mark 8:34 that He wasn't looking for people to just answer "yes" to a survey question. He is looking for followers.


Mark 8:34 If any of you wants to be My follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow Me.


Mark's original audience was Roman. It was the Romans who invented crucifixion for dangerous criminals. A prisoner carried the cross beam of his cross to the place of execution, signifying submission to Rome.


So when Jesus says, "you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow Me," He means submitting our lives to following Him.


This doesn't mean we are to seek pain to show that we are a follower. It doesn't mean that we must deny all pleasure to be a follower. We will actually obtain more joy as a follower of Jesus than we could possibly ever attain from the World and its pleasures.

But Jesus is inviting us to choose to follow Him rather than lead a life focused on self and pleasure. The World encourages us to chase possessions, position, and power. But that focus on self and pleasure only provides fleeting moments of happiness at best, accompanied by feelings of disappointment, defeat, and failure. The trinkets the World tries to dangle before our eyes never satisfies and never quenches our thirst.


But when we dedicate our lives to Jesus, setting out daily to follow Him, He fills us with passion, strength, and joy that finally quenches our thirst and fulfills the purpose we have been seeking.


I think what is difficult to understand is, that thirst that we are all striving to quench can never be satisfied by the World because the World didn't create us; God did. God created us in His image to be in relationship with Him and to submit our lives to following Him. When we do that, we finally attain everlasting joy and feel complete.


Then more than anything, we want to see those around us experience the strength, joy, and peace we have found through Jesus.


So what about you? Jesus is standing before you, inviting you to let go of the World, follow Him, and experience His peace and joy?


Dear Lord, Thank you for inviting each of us to follow You. Thank you for putting that invitation on our heart to truly get to know you intimately through Your Word and understand what it means to not just be a Christian, but to be your follower, wholly devoted to You, in all areas of our life, and experiencing your joy, peace, and strength. In Jesus' name, amen.


I have decided to follow Jesus.

I have decided to follow Jesus.

No turning back, no turning back.


Though none go with me, I still will follow,

Though none go with me, I still will follow.

No turning back, no turning back.


My cross I'll carry, till I see Jesus.

My cross I'll carry, till I see Jesus.

No turning back, no turning back.


The world behind me, the cross before me.

The world behind me, the cross before me.

No turn back, no turning back.



Jan Weihl

Living Word Ministries

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