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Pointers along the way #663

Following Jesus, along with the others!

- Jacob Ninan

All of us who have chosen to follow Jesus are different in so many ways. Our understanding of what it means to follow Jesus, what we look for in following Him, our clarity on what He wants us to do and not do -- all these vary based on the teaching we have received, the background we grew up in, our personality traits, the church group we are in, our personal knowledge of the Bible, etc. As a result of this, we hold different values and practice different customs, emphasise different doctrines, and we even consider certain things to be 'right' while some others consider the same things 'wrong'!

Fellowship with other believers is one of the things God has given to us as a help in growing up spiritually, as we encourage, comfort, teach, challenge and correct one another. At the same time, it is one of the challenges of life to live and work with others who are different from us. Many times we get rubbed in the wrong way, and we are tempted to withdraw or even attack. But this 'rubbing' is supposed to smoothen the rough edges and fill up the lacks for both of us. This does not usually happen without our getting hurt at times, or confused, perplexed or angry at other times. But it becomes easier when we realise that others are also under 'renovation' by the Lord just as we are (Ro.15:7). The process of bearing with difficult situations and people, forgiving others and asking for forgiveness ourselves, and caring for others and going out of our way to help others in practical ways as well as through prayer and encouragement adds up to growth both for us and for others.

One thing we keep in mind is that because of our fallen nature, our predominant characteristic is selfishness. As a result, we tend to see and focus on the other people's faults and to be blind to ours. This is something we need to consciously look for, to see where we are going wrong, and how we need to do things better. This is required for our spiritual growth, and often to be done even when there is no reciprocation from the other side! We should not give up, even when we cannot find any change from the other side!

Another thing to be remembered as we personally seek to get closer to the Lord and to become more and more faithful to Him is that we need to be faithful to the Holy Spirit working through our conscience even when others around us do not see things the way we do. One usual thought that comes to us is to question why we should hold up a high standard when others who are reputed to be even leaders do not worry about such things. But remember, if we have been given more light, He expects more from us (Lk.12:48). If we give in to popular standards, even what we have may be taken away from us (Lk.8:18). As someone has said, if we have chosen to be disciples of Jesus, there will be things He will not allow us to do while He may overlook them in some others. Perhaps our being different is what may make others think.


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