It occurs to me that Christians have made “following Christ” almost meaningless. Following Christ is not an invisible, unknown something in your heart. “Following Christ” is an action, with visible consequences. Just as I might follow you on the road and go left when you go left, and go right when you go right, if we’re following Christ, we’re going to do the same things He did. We can debate theology and teachings until we’re blue, but Jesus’ actions provide a pretty clear plan of how to live a life as He lived. Jesus himself said that if you don’t follow his ways, you can use his name all you want and you’re totally out of line. (see Matthew 7) The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and the proof of faith is how you live your life. “You are my friends if you do what I command”. (John 15) What our problem is, is that we’ve overly spiritualized this “believing” in God thing. “It’s OK if you’re a serial killer, you might still believe in God, and maybe I just have my understanding all wrong.” Umm, no, that is not at all what Jesus, Paul or James said. Transformation begins in the heart, and is followed through with action. Finally, the question raised is God’s power and benevolence. If God is all-powerful, then why does he allow bad things to happen in his name? I think that is a faulty question, because there is the inherent assumption that we are made for this world. That God must fix this situation or he doesn’t exist. Personally, I reject that idea. This is a flawed world, and that we are never completely at ease in it shows that we are made for a different one. (even Jesus said we do not belong here: John 17:16) The other world has two choices: you either spend an eternity worshiping the one and only creator, or you spend it separated from him. I would say that what matters is not so much what you believe (“even the demons believe and tremble”), or your actions… but the two put together. Do you draw near to God, or away from Him? Do you depend on God, or do you depend on yourself? This world is not our home. It doesn’t exist to make sense. It exists to remind us of our dependence on him. It exists to help make us more like him. When people wrong us, it is no different than the entire creation that wronged the creator. We can either dwell in it and try to get revenge, or draw near to God and forgive. (“turn the other cheek”) When we are the ones that wrong the creator, we can either sit in that mire and turn even further from him, or we can draw closer to him and ask for his forgiveness. When we see wrong, we can either join in, or oppose it. (however opposition looks like, sometimes it is just passive and a constant prayer to God to do something … drawing near to him) And, oh by the way, this is covered in “Following Jesus”. If we Follow Jesus, we would follow him on his temptation. We would follow his quick defense through Scripture. We would follow him to the Garden, where he prayed for hours to the Father. We would follow him to the cross where he was totally dependent on God. “Following Christ” actually does mean something. And it does show in the lives of people. And it’s all about drawing closer to God because of a difficult and confusing world, not in spite of it.