Each week I have the privilege of speaking to the staff of both Broughton Anglican College and St Peter’s Anglican Primary School to encourage them to keep maturing in Jesus. Both these schools were set up as activities of the church to reach into the local community with the the Good News of Jesus. It is a joy to work alongside the staff and I am confident we have two effective ministries that are serving to grow the Christian community both at our church and other churches in the region.
This week I spoke about Discipleship – we are following Simon Manchester’s Small Steps for Long Gains.
The questions I asked of the staff were: How many people do you follow on Instagram? How many Facebook friends do you have? How many Pinterest Boards have you pinned? How many Tumblr blogs do you catch up on? And the list could go on.
(For those confused by these names or who despise social media, perhaps I could ask: which TV shows do you watch religiously? What magazines do you read? Whose lives do you keep track of? What talk back radio hosts do you love to tune into?)
We all have people we follow – and we usually do so uncritically and unmindfully. We listen to their thinking, we catch up on their thoughts and activities and we too often attune our thinking to theirs. We end up liking what they like, thinking what they think, and doing what they do.
The challenge for Christians is that there is one person of much greater significance who has said “Follow me!” His name is Jesus! Our problem is that we can’t just add Jesus to the list of people we follow. He cannot be one among many. He is jealous for our attention, affection and activities to be governed and directed by him. Luke recounts Jesus saying:
“Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?” (Luke 9:23-25)
If we must deny ourselves how much more must we deny the influence of Kim, Justin, Ariana, Selena and Taylor. (And Ray Hadley, Ben Fordham and Tony Jones)
It’s worth asking yourself, who am I following really?
Jesus? Jesus and a string of others? Or just others?
Remember your citizenship in in heaven.