I love reading about Jesus through the Gospels. His nature was all about the will of the Father, and He continued that life no matter what obstacles He faced. He didn’t waver when the folks in His hometown tried to throw Him off of a cliff (Luke 4:29). He doubled down when His brothers thought He was crazy and mocked Him (John 7:5), or when they tried to bring Him home because they thought He was crazy (Matthew 12:46-50, and others). He didn’t let popularity go to His head, nor did he falter when He lost popularity because the teaching became too difficult (John 6), and, though the religious leaders wanted Him eliminated, He continued in His purpose, all the way to the cross (all four Gospels reference this). If you look at the patterns of Jesus’ life, everything He did was on purpose, not to please the crowds, not to please the religious, not to please His family, but to do the will of the Father who sent Him.
Those of us who claim to follow Jesus need to understand something about Jesus’ life: when He said “follow me,” it wasn’t a road trip He was calling for, but a lifestyle change, radically, from the inside out. He called His followers to be born again, not of the flesh but of the Spirit. He called His followers to love the Lord with all of their heart, mind, soul and strength, and to love their neighbors as themselves (walking in obedience to God in all things without a divided mind, and loving people on purpose, as God loves them). This isn’t an archaic set of commands, but a lifestyle He still expects His followers to obey. Jesus did everything on purpose and with purpose, and we, who claim Him must seek to follow Him in more than word, but also with purposeful action and intent. It’s why the author of Hebrews tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2): we can only know Him as we follow His example in obedience to the Father by the power of the Holy Spirit. If we mess up, we repent and keep moving toward Him. If we feel ourselves faltering, stay on that narrow path that few find. Live every breath, thought and action on purpose for Christ, He will empower your walk, as He said He would.
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.