“Follow me, and I will make you become . . . (Jesus, in Mark 1:17).”
When we follow Jesus, we become. Yes, I know that Mark 1:17 specifies a definite becoming: Simon and Andrew would become fishers of people. However, I’m drawn to the theme that following Jesus changes a person – every person who follows.
When we follow Jesus, we become peaceful. We become loving, patient, kind, self-controlled. We become truly ourselves. We become more like God. We become that dream that God had for us when the Lord created us.
When we follow Jesus, we become better children, better parents, and better spouses. We become persons upon whom others rely. We become persons with vision; we become persons that like ourselves.
Verses that support this thesis are flooding my mind, but I will resist the urge to quote them now. I want to stay focused on two transformations: mine and yours.
How do I see Jesus in you? I see the change Jesus is making. I work at a Bible College, and every year we see students transformed. We talk about releasing their dreams, which intimates that they are becoming more centered in their life-calling. However, we also see them becoming more disciplined, less self-centered, and more confident.
I enjoy talking to people about theology, but you do not convince me you follow Jesus because I agree with your theology. You convince me you follow Jesus when I see Jesus changing you. When you face a challenge and use the challenge as opportunity for Jesus to change your attitude or activity, I sense you are following Jesus.
My confidence that I follow Jesus grows when I sense I am letting Jesus “make me become.” This is not so much a matter of salvation as it is gauging the degree that I experience the Spirit today. When I grow stale and can’t point to recent change, I begin looking for the new thing Jesus wants to do in me.
At age sixty-one, I still wonder what I will be when I grow up. In infinite love, God always has a new phase of becoming to which he invites me. “Oh Jesus! I pray that today I will seize every opportunity you make for me to become. Make me holy; make me useful; make me yours.”