People who believe in Jesus follow Him. When we commit to Jesus as Savior, we equally commit to Him as Lord—the one in charge worth following. Jesus possesses all there is to know about really living (John 6:68). He’s the author of faith and the one who completes it in us (Hebrews 12:2). He’s the one who rescues us from death and destruction and provides all we need for the life always meant for us—a radiant one up-close with Him (John 10:10).
No wonder Peter and Andrew, Jesus’ first two disciples, “immediately left their boat and their father and followed [Jesus]” after encountering Him (Matthew 4:22). Jesus became their highest priority, purpose, and pursuit. So much so, they were willing to set aside their careers, income, and family connections to follow Him. And so must we. Followers of Jesus make adoring Him, learning from Him, serving Him, and becoming like Him the most important thing in life. They learn to say what He says, do what He does, see what He sees, love as He loves, and become what He is. They know that in doing so, all other things (like careers, income, and family) will fall properly into place.
So what does it mean to make Jesus our highest priority, purpose, and pursuit?
Here are 10 characteristics of a follower of Christ. They aren’t “the” definitive list—some experts might list more, some less. There are many ways to daily follow Jesus. What’s important is, as these 10 characteristics are wholeheartedly engaged and practiced, they will go a long way in deepening your love for God and others as a follower of Christ.
A follower of Christ …
- Engages with Jesus in up-close, intimate ways.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” –John 15:5
Followers look to get up-close to Jesus often. Having experienced Jesus’ love and forgiveness, they desire to know, learn from, enjoy, and please Him anywhere, everywhere, as often as possible. Nothing becomes a higher priority than knowing and loving Jesus in the deepest ways.
- Encounters God in His Word.
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit… it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” –Hebrews 4:12
Followers seek God in His Word. They not only learn about God, they actually get to know Him. God’s Word instructs and challenges them, guides and directs them, encourages and comforts them, delights and activates them. That’s why they study it, savor it, and cherish it.
- Connects with God continually through prayer.
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” –Romans 12:12
Followers constantly talk and listen to God through prayer. Prayer becomes ongoing conversation with God throughout the day to know His heart and do what pleases Him. Prayer provides opportunities to seek God’s help for others, ask for wisdom and strength, and have honest conversation with all that’s going on in the world, God’s Kingdom, and their heart.
- Makes worship and praise a lifestyle.
“Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.”—Psalm 96:2-3
Followers worship and praise God far beyond a weekly gathering at church. They constantly look around for God’s hand and handiwork in nature, people, and situations. They can’t help but adore God for who He is and proclaim in praise and thanksgiving, “Look what God has done, see what God is doing!”
- Embraces growth as a lifelong posture and pursuit.
“And we all, who with unveiled faces reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory…” –2 Corinthians 3:18
Followers embrace that they will never stop growing and maturing in Christ. They approach God, life, and others humbly, knowing that God’s work in them and others is ongoing. They are grateful for where God has brought them and eager for Him to take them further.
- Practices generosity.
“Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously… God loves a cheerful giver.” –2 Corinthians 9:6-7
Followers are generous with their time, money, possessions, and talents because they know how generous God has been with them. They believe that all they have and all they are belong to God, and they willingly and cheerfully share their resources with God and others.
- Unites with other believers in Kingdom community.
“… we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ… as each part does its work.” –Ephesians 4:15-16
Followers unite with other believers in loving and serving Christ and His Kingdom. They realize they were never meant to go it alone as a Christian. They understand the need and benefit of local church community for encouragement, accountability, worship, service, growth, and Kingdom impact. Followers continue to discover and use their unique gifts and wirings to benefit God’s Kingdom through their local church body and beyond.
- Exercises an ongoing life of faith.
“without faith it is impossible to please God…” –Hebrews 11:6
Followers learn to trust and rely on God daily. Their faith grows as they rely on God for things they are incapable of doing, overcoming, or accomplishing on their own. Followers increase their faith as they recall God’s faithfulness and seek the Holy Spirit daily.
- Says yes to God early and often.
“And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.” –2 John 1:6
Followers listen carefully for God’s instructions and promptly do what He asks. They practice hearing God speak through His Word, prayer, preaching, creation, other followers, His “still, small voice,” and more. Then, they practice giving a quick yes! to what God instructs. They discover that quick yesses to God glorify Him sooner and advance the Kingdom farther, faster.
- Shares God’s story and their own.
“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” –Romans 10:15
Followers gladly share what they’ve graciously received. They know how radically Christ has changed their life through His life, death, and resurrection, and they want to share the good news with others. Followers willingly look for opportunities to share God’s story and their own in intentional, loving, and Spirit-led ways.
Ready to Become a Kingdom Laborer?
Kingdom Laborers are followers who see the Kingdom-harvest needs Jesus’ sees and are ready to actively get involved in loving God and others everywhere, every day. They are continually being filled by Christ and want others to know and experience His love, forgiveness, and grace. They desire to be so much more than consumers of God’s love; they want to be multipliers of it!