I spoke at Crossroads in Joliet on Father’s Day and shared some of the life lessons that my dad taught me growing up. My dad is a pastor and watching him, I learned how to communicate, how to work with people and how to put first things first. One of his key priorities was spending time with God each day. I remember walking into the living room to see Dad with his Bible in hand. He read each day, he memorized passages, he prayed for us, his ministry and people. He is a great example to me.
A second sign that marks a follower of Jesus is found in John 8. Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (v. 31-32) The word “hold” carries with it the idea of living under, dwelling in, remaining or continuing in something. (I used an umbrella at Crossroads to talk about living under Jesus’ teaching.)
If I want to be a follower of Jesus, I need to live under his teaching. This means I need to listen to what he says (read), I need to follow what he says (obey) and I need to put into practice the teaching I discover (apply). When these key things are happening, I will find myself where Jesus wants me to be. I also think my life will be marked very specifically as one of his followers.
I appreciate the example of spending time with God my father set for me. Today, I went into my living room, sat in my chair, opened the Bible and spent time with God. (I am currently reading through the life of David.) As I spend time with him, God continues to chip away at the rough areas in my life. He also guides, directs and teaches as I read. Good things happen to disciples who live under the teaching of Jesus.