Are you ready to follow Jesus?
What following Jesus means and how to become a follower of Christ
If you are ready to follow Jesus or want to learn more about what following Jesus means, I'm so glad you're here!
I grew up always believing in God, but I didn't know how to follow Jesus or live for Jesus until a few years ago.
And I had so many questions about following Jesus. What does it mean to follow Jesus? What does it mean to become a Christian or a follower of Christ? And why does it matter?
God showed me that I was not living the life I was created to live, and he finally showed me how to surrender my entire life to Jesus.
Whether you are ready to surrender your life to Jesus or are still learning what this life with God is all about, the resources below will help you learn more about what it's like to follow Jesus.
Resources for new Christians or new believers in Christ
This page includes the following resources for following Jesus:
- A free, downloadable Spiritual Goals Worksheet to create your own roadmap to follow Jesus
- How to develop a personal relationship with God
- How to surrender your life to Jesus, including a salvation prayer to pray if you are ready to follow Jesus
- What the Bible says about following Jesus and examples from scripture that show us what it means to follow Jesus
- Erin Elise Kiu
Download FREE Bible Reading Plans to learn how to read the Bible
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These Bible reading plans are a great place to start if you are a new believer or if you are new to reading the Bible
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Get your free Spiritual Goals Worksheet to grow closer to God in 10 different areas
Do you want to grow closer to God but are not sure where to start? Maybe you feel overwhelmed like I did when I was learning about becoming a Christian.
In this free, Spiritual Goals Worksheet, I help you define how you can grow closer to God in 10 different areas. This is a great resource for new Christians or new believers to use as a guide for spiritual growth.
Use this as a guide to define how you'll spend more time with God and what following Jesus looks like in your own lifeYes! I want to get the free, Spiritual Goals Worksheet to define how I'll grow closer to God!
Following Jesus starts with establishing a personal relationship with God
If you are thinking about following Jesus or are still not sure what it means to follow Jesus, establishing a personal relationship with God is essential.
The more time you spend with God, the more you get to know who God is and what it means to be a child of God. And the more you learn about God, you'll understand His love for you like never before as you learn why God sacrificed his only son, Jesus, to die on the cross for us.
If you are looking to establish or strengthen your relationship with God, read this blog post to better understand how you can have your own personal relationship with God.
My testimony of how I gave up my old life to follow Jesus
Giving up my old life of living in the party scene wasn't easy. Learn how God showed me that following Jesus was the only way that could save my life, and how he gave me the strength to leave behind my nights of drinking and casual hook ups.
Are you ready to see how God wants to change your life?
Learn more about One Transforming Love & get your copy!
What Does it Mean to Follow Jesus? Learn What the Bible Says About Following Jesus
One of the most cited bible verses that addresses following Jesus is in Mark 8. We learn a lot from Jesus himself who is explaining what it means to follow Him and to become his disciple.
“Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.
What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?
If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” – Mark 8:34-38 NIV
First, we see that Jesus urges his disciples to deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Him. Denying ourselves and our own desires is crucial to making the decision to follow Jesus. When we give our lives to Christ, we are choosing to do life His way, not our way.
Jesus also tells us in John 14 that he is the way, the truth, and the life. To follow Jesus, it means admitting we can’t continue trying to do life our way and that we will follow His ways because Jesus knows best.
“Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6 CSB
Being Willing to Give Up Your Life to Put Jesus First
In Mark 8, Jesus then talks about losing your life for Him, and that whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Him will save it.
I’ll be honest, I used to think people that gave up everything in their life to follow Jesus were a bit crazy. But when I was seriously considering surrendering my life to Christ, this Bible verse still left me confused.
Do I really need to give up my life in order to follow Christ?
And then I came across a passage in the Bible where a rich man asked Jesus what he needed to do to inherit eternal life.
Jesus response to the rich guy? He emphasized the importance of knowing the commandments but also told the guy to sell all you have and distribute to the poor.
“When Jesus heard this, he told him, “You still lack one thing: Sell all you have and distribute it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” – Luke 18:22 CSB
Notice how Jesus tells the man to sell all he has and then urges him to follow Him.
When I was a new Christian reading this, I thought, “Do I have to give up all my possessions and live in a smaller apartment to follow Jesus? Do I have to give everything I have to the poor in order to follow Him?”
We also see a similar concept illustrated in Luke 5, where a tax collector leaves everything behind to follow Jesus.
“After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the tax office, and he said to him, “Follow me.” So, leaving everything behind, he got up and began to follow him.” – Luke 5:27-28 CSB
While some Christians feel called to live on less so they can give what they earn to others in need, the key point Jesus is making in these verses is that we are called to put Jesus first in our lives, even if it means leaving behind our old lives.
The rich man was putting his possessions above Jesus, as he was not willing to put Jesus first in His life.
He had essentially made his possessions an idol, but God calls us to worship Him and only Him.
And putting anyone or anything else before Jesus is essentially worshipping other gods.
When I gave my life to Christ, God showed me that I needed to repent and give up my old ways of living in the party scene that were not honoring Him.
As I started reading the Bible, God showed me that getting drunk and having sex before marriage was a sin, and he challenged me to give up these areas to follow Him.
Since I knew these areas of my life were not pleasing to God, I knew I had to give these areas of my life up to follow Jesus.
If you truly want to follow Jesus, God will ask you to lay down the sin in your life to follow Him.
God showed me I also had to give up things in my life that were preventing me from putting Him first.
He also called me to give up playing beach volleyball on Sundays so I could make going to church a priority, and He also called me to stop hanging out with some people that were a bad influence.
And I’ll be honest, giving up these parts of my life were painful. But after spending a season where God was stripping away the things that had been holding me back, he brought new people and activities in my life that were way better than the things I had been afraid to give up.
Whatever you are afraid to give up for Jesus, you can trust that He has something better for you. And when you look back in a few years, the blessings in your life because of Jesus won’t even compare to the things you were afraid to give up.
Jesus emphasizes this in Matthew 19 where he tells the disciples that they will receive a hundred times more than what they gave up to follow Him.
“Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, in the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields because of my name will receive a hundred times more and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” – Matthew 19:28-30
But as I continued walking with God, I realized that he will constantly call us to give up parts of our life so we can pursue the new callings and assignments God has for us. And that sometimes, God calls us to give up good things for Him.
Good things? Why would I give up good things?
Because not all good things are God things. Not all good things are helping you fulfill the plans God has for you. And sometimes, God wants to call you into something new which may mean letting go of something else.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. Every branch in me that does not produce fruit he removes, and he prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit.” – John 15:1-2 CSB
Giving up something good for God? Let me provide an example.
After a few years of following Jesus, He presented me with the toughest decision I had to make since choosing to give my life to Him.
I knew God was urging me to quit my job to pursue a new career and calling in writing, but I wasn’t making much money as a writer yet.
But God kept confirming it was time, and that I had a choice. I could continue to stay at my job, holding onto the comfortable salary and benefits, or I could choose to trust where he was leading me and surrender this job to Him.
So while my old job was a good job, it was not where God wanted me anymore and I had to make the decision to give up that job and the salary to continue following where God wanted to take me.
As you’re reading this, has God put anything on your heart that He wants you to give up to truly follow Him in all areas of your life?
Not Being Ashamed to Talk About Jesus
In Mark 8:38, Jesus also talks about not being ashamed of Him and his words. He makes a point to say that if we are shamed of Him, then Jesus will be ashamed of us.
A follower of Jesus is not afraid to talk about Jesus, or to let other people know that they are a Christian.
Jesus gave all his disciples the great commission to go out and make disciples of all nations. He loves it when we boldly share our faith and invite others to know Jesus.
Yet we live in a world where so many Christians never talk about their faith. Maybe they are afraid to bring it up at work or with their friends for the fear of being judged.
But Jesus is clear, if we are ashamed of Him, he will be ashamed of us.
Who do you fear more? Are you more afraid of being judged by people around you for sharing your faith, or are you more afraid of the judgment of God when he sees that you are ashamed to talk about Him?
Choosing to Follow Jesus Daily
Making the decision to follow Jesus is not a one-time decision. Luke 9 points this out and that the decision to deny ourselves and follow Jesus is a daily decision.
“Then he said to them all, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.” – Luke 9:23 CSB
Each one of us is presented with the initial decision to surrender our lives to Christ, where we welcome Jesus into our lives and accept Him as our Lord and Savior. But following Jesus is a daily decision.
As a Christian, we are not immune from temptation in this world. And sometimes we may find ourselves in seasons or situations we would not have expected.
Following Jesus requires us to surrender our lives, desires, and ways to Jesus every day over our own wants and desires.
If we only decide to follow Jesus at our initial salvation, but end up disobeying His ways or choosing to do things the world’s way, we didn’t really decide to follow Jesus in our heart.
Following Jesus is a daily decision each one of us needs to make to continue walking with Christ.
Obeying God’s Word
Studying and obeying God’s word is an essential part of being a follower of Christ.
“Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you continue in my word, you really are my disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – John 8:31-32 CSB
As a follower of Christ, you are making the decision to obey and follow God’s word. And you are making the decision to follow ALL his commands, not just the ones that are convenient for you.
Remember, Jesus urges us to lay down our cross to follow Him. If we hold onto certain areas of our life or refuse to turn from our sins, we cannot truly follow Jesus.
Making the decision to follow Jesus is so much more than deciding to follow someone on social media.
Jesus doesn’t just want us to see and watch what he did. He wants us to imitate him and to obey God’s word.
And in a world where people are spending more time on social media than ever, it’s so important to make sure you are focusing and following Jesus, not on what everyone else is doing around you.
Who are you following? Are you following and walking in God’s ways?
If you are focused more on following people or other Christian influencers on social media, learn more about the pitfalls of using social media and how Christians should use social media in a way that glorifies God.
In John 13, Jesus shows us an example of what it means to love others. Jesus is at his last supper with his disciples and he starts washing their feet.
He then tells them that he has washed their feet as an example of what they should do for others.
“So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done for you.” – John 13:14-15 CSB
After Jesus mentions that one of his disciples would betray him, Jesus again emphasizes the importance of loving one another.
““I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”” – John 8:34-35 CSB
Jesus is clear that we must love one another as a disciple or follower of Christ.
The Bible even tells us that if we obey all of God’s commands but don’t have love, then we have nothing.
Love is a key ingredient in following Jesus, and showing that love to others around us proves to Jesus that we are his disciples and true followers of Christ.
Following Jesus means surrendering your life and heart to Him. Are you ready to give your life to Jesus and choose Him as your Lord and Savior?
If you truly want to follow Jesus and live for Him, the Bible tells us in Romans 10 to confess with our mouth and believe in our hearts that Jesus is Lord and that God raised him from the dead.
"If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved." - Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Growing up, I thought I was going to Heaven because I believed in God and Jesus Christ, but God showed me that just believing that he exists isn't good enough to secure a spot in Heaven for eternity.
God showed me that in order to follow Jesus and be saved, also known as receiving the gift of salvation, that I needed to surrender my entire life to Jesus and accept Him as my Lord and Savior. God showed me that I needed to repent from my past lifestyle that was not pleasing to Him, and that if I wanted to give my life to Christ, that I needed to honor Him by obeying and walking in His ways.
If you are ready to surrender your life to Jesus and make the decision to follow Him, you can pray the prayer below to ask Jesus to come into your life:
Prayer to Follow Jesus
God, I thank you for sending your son Jesus to die for my sins.
I confess that I am a sinner and I need a Savior. I believe that Jesus died on the cross for my sins and that I am forgiven.
Today, I surrender my life to Jesus Christ. I accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior and I choose to follow him with my whole heart. Jesus, I invite you to come into my life.
I thank you that I am filled with the Holy Spirit, and that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in me.
As a child of God, I declare that I am saved and that heaven is my home. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Did you just decide to follow Jesus?
If you just prayed this prayer for the first time, congratulations! This is the BIGGEST decision you'll ever make in your life. Let me know if you just decided to follow Jesus by emailing me at [email protected].