An interesting phenomenon has developed over the past several years.
It’s the idea of “followers.”
It’s really quiet an interesting study of social behavior.
Internet sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Vines, blogs such as this one, and others have built into their structure, this idea of having “followers.” People in the internet world simply click “follow” as an indicator that they are interested in what you are publishing or saying.
They then become a follower.
The system has become so normative across so many social platforms that it has been monetized. In the case of YouTube for instance, users with large followings can actually be paid for growing the number of followers that are active on their account.
Gaining visibility is the name of the game, and in our society, it would seem that the stranger, the more bizarre one can become, the more followers one can obtain.
It has been said that one of the strongest and most important psychological traits for the average person, is the importance of being accepted by others. Many have stumbled on this one trait. We often mistakenly attach it to our self-worth.
There are those whose measure of success in life is counted by the number of followers they have attracted. Such a perspective appeals too those who believe their personal value lies in the quantity of the followers they have accumulated.
Now that we have made “following” a metric on the internet, by monitoring and in some cases receiving payments for the number of followers we have, one has to wonder about the effect on the individual, and eventually society as a whole.
Yet the idea of social popularity and followers was a struggle long before the internet showed up.
The Scriptures record this about Jesus; that “a great crowd of people ‘followed’ him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick.” (John 6:2)
Many followed Jesus in His day because of what they saw him doing. It was unusual. Healing the chronically ill or feeding thousands from a few meager loaves of bread and a few fish, that type of news traveled fast, even in AD 33.
Thankfully Jesus was not the selfish and insecure individual that needed to do whatever he could do to get more people to follow Him. In fact, scriptures record that he didn’t go with the popularity model; rather he lived in reality and presented truth, truth that was often hard for a self-centered society to hear. (Some things haven’t changed much…)
When it comes to popularity, people are fickle creatures. A few verses later in the same chapter, we see that when Jesus began to share on a deeper level, a level that required life changes, “many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.” (John 6:66)
The tendency today is to focus on fitting in at all costs. The internet has brought to the social table great visibility, and to a certain extent, another channel of social pressure to help us conform to the latest social cause or fad.
It takes real strength of character to be willing to follow Jesus, to not worry about what others think. It takes fortitude to stand up against the majority who believe that “might makes right”, that truth is whatever fifty-one percent of the people think is truth.
I think one only needs to see the news to see how well that system is working.
Thankfully Jesus is always available to us. He is the God of “do-overs” and “fresh starts.” Jesus tells us that we need only to choose to follow Him, and by doing so, we must choose to un-follow the alternatives.
Take a moment right now, think about your life. How’s it going? Are you taking the wide easy road, the road that everyone else is traveling on? Deep down, how satisfying has that choice been?
Do you want to start over, do a do-over in your life?
- Admit to God that you have been traveling on the wrong road of life. That you’ve been living a life that has not been honoring to Him.
- Agree to do a total U-Turn in your life. To abandon a lifestyle that has never really satisfied you down deep. Redo your priorities, so that God is at the center of every part of your life. Tell God that you love Him and that you will follow Him all the days of your life! (Even when it’s not the popular thing to do! )
- If you do this as an act of faith, then the scriptures tell us that “Whoever accepts and trusts the Son gets in on everything, life complete and forever!”
You can talk to God by praying, using your own words. There is no special formula. Just pray from your heart to God, and He will save you. If you feel lost and just don’t know what to pray, here’s a prayer of salvation that you can pray:
I admit that I am a sinner. I have done many things that don’t please you. I have lived my life for myself. I am sorry and I repent. I ask you to forgive me. I believe that you died on the cross for me, to save me. You did what I could not do for myself. I come to you now and ask you to take control of my life, I give it to you. Help me to live every day in a way that pleases you. I love you, Lord, and I thank you that I will spend all eternity with you. -Amen”