People love being followed. It is an affirmation that they have something that others desire. We live in a generation where social media following is a big deal. Politicians, musicians and other public figures do so much to boost the number of people who follow them. There are many who follow others so that they can be followed too.
It has however been established that relationships based on social media is ephemeral and superficial at best. One important thing I have learnt about life is that what matters is not so much about who we follow but also why we follow them. In John 6, Jesus had just finished preaching to thousands of people who came from various towns. When it was evening, the disciples came to him, requesting that He send the people away so they can go and buy themselves food. Jesus refused to send them away instead, He performed an amazing miracle - feeding 5000 men, not counting the women and the children.
The next day, Jesus headed for Capernaum but the people found out where He was and went over to meet Him. Now if that was me, I would see that as a huge success. The people had been blessed and now they want more! Jesus however saw their motives. He told them, "I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs." (John 6:26) This is the number one reason why people follow others - they follow others because of what they hope to benefit from them. The intention for performing the miracle was not for the people to desire more miracles but to point them to the the source of the miracles so that they they can believe in Him.
There are quite a number of Christians that I have come across who attend a certain Church because they believe in the miracles they have seen being performed there. What they fail to understand is that miracles are not meant to draw Christians but to attract non-believers. We should not follow Christ just for what we hope to receive from Him but rather, to become a channel of blessings and an instrument in His hands to reach out to others.
One of the characters in the Bible who intrigues me whenever I read about him is Enoch. He is mentioned briefly but there is a great story in those few paragraphs, "Enoch lived 365 years, walking in close fellowship with God. Then one day he disappeared, because God took him." (Genesis 5:23 - 24) It seems to me that the more Enoch walked with God, the less attachment he had to earthly things. At some point, God had to take Him because Enoch had become so heavenly conscious, earth had no place for Him anymore.
As Christians, we are called to follow in the footsteps of Christ. The more we follow Him, the more we become like Him. He even promised that anyone who believes in Him, will do the works that He did and will even do greater works (John 14:12)
If we follow Christ for what we think we will get from him - blessings, miracles, healings and the like, we may not go very far. There will come a time when our faith will be tested and if our motives are not right, then we will become discouraged and turn back. When Jesus began to teach things which some of the people following found difficult to grasp, they turned back and stopped following Him (John 6:66)
Jesus turned to the twelve and asked them, "Do you also want to go away?" But Peter responded, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life" (John 6:68)
The twelve didn't just follow Jesus because of the temporal benefits they hoped to receive, they followed because they believed in Jesus and what He came to the world to do. That is the same reason why we should follow Him. All other things will follow after.
Steve Popoola is the editor of Biblepraise Newsletter and the founder of the Biblepraise Fellowship Online at http://www.biblepraise.org. He lives in Kent, United Kingdom, where he works as an IT Professional. He currently serves as a Worship Leader as well as Home Group Leader in his local church and on occasion, speaks at invited events. He is the founder of the BiblepraiseFellowship Online Ministry and Moderator/Editor of the Biblepraise Newsletter. He can be reached through His email address, email@example.com