What does it mean to follow Jesus? How does your faith in him transform your thoughts and actions?
Written as a series of letters in a gentle, conversational tone, Walk with Me, our latest GCD release, is an interactive tool designed to help those in a spiritual mentoring relationship. It summarizes four areas in following Christ: the beliefs of a Christian, living like a Christian, habits of a Christian, and exploring the Bible.
Jenny McGill, a ministry leader and pastor’s wife, will encourage and bolster you in your Christian faith, addressing some difficult subjects in a down-to-earth fashion. Approachable and engaging, Walk with Me is a discipleship guide and aid to all believers, no matter how long they have walked with Jesus.
Here’s an excerpt of one of her letters, originally written to a young woman she was discipling.
Under New Management
Dear Daughter of God,
When you became a Christian, you accepted the gospel message: that Christ’s death and resurrection on the cross saves you from being forever separated from God and that you are reborn into a new life in Christ to pursue the kingdom of God.
You know those guys who stand on the corner with a sign plate on the front and back sides of their body announcing “Tacos $2” or “Car Wash to the right”? It’s like you now wear a sign over you indicating that you are “Under New Management.”
Not everyone understands immediately what being under new management means, mind you. I understood the first part of this as a child and vaguely the second half, which God was faithful to explain more fully when I was old enough to understand. And God does bring his children along but not on their own.
That’s why a new Christian desperately needs to be in a good church and be discipled by someone more firmly set in the faith for a significant length of time. Many have said they believed and have not moved beyond that—for years. They remain stunted, and worse, may be misled to believe that they are Christians when, in fact, they are not.
Upon becoming a Christian, a beautiful journey with God begins that has its ups and downs and turnarounds, but God carries you in your faith. At age nine, I understood I was a sinner and accepted what Jesus had done for me. When I was fourteen, during a pastor’s sermon, I sensed that I should be following Jesus in every area of my life. Seriously.
I was suddenly convicted that Jesus was asking me to choose him over anything else in life. Jesus will literally compel you to a moment of decision. It doesn’t have to be fancy or bold or loud, but within your spirit, you will know. Those moments continue as he walks with you through life.
You’ll get to those places where you would rather walk your own way, and the Spirit of God nudges you that this is not the path for you. And we all know those times we’ve ignored God. We can pinpoint those as well as the moments we did follow God. I have marked mine as milestones in walking with God.
My point is that you have given up however or whatever you used to live by (at least in theory) and have placed yourself voluntarily under new management. You will falter, object, and thrash violently at times against this new will of yours (which is to say, of Christ’s) because your old will—your old sense of things—is still hanging on for dear life. It does not want to die. All the verses on dying to yourself, cutting off the old ways, will begin to make more and more sense. The power resisting God (evil) does not want to let you go.
The truth is that you have already been saved. So, that’s great news, but a battle will be fought for the whole of your life. I kid you not. But you knew that already because you have felt it.
Stay close to God’s Spirit,
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Jenny McGill (PhD, King’s College London) works in higher education and intercultural affairs. A Fulbright award recipient, Jenny has spent ten years in international education and intercultural consulting with clients and students from over sixty nations. Her books include Religious Identity and Cultural Negotiation, The Self Examined, and Walk with Me. With interdisciplinary lenses (sociology, psychology, and theology), she researches the intersection of religion, culture, and identity with a focus on ethnic minorities. Connect with her at www.jennymcgill.com or @drjennymcgill.