Soren Kierkegaard writes:
"Is God's meaning, in Christianity, simply to humble man through the model (that is to say putting before us the ideal) and to console him with 'Grace,' but in such a way that through Christianity there is expressed the fact that between God and man there is no relationship, that man must express his thankfulness like a dog to man, so that adoration becomes more and more true, and more and more pleasing to God, as it becomes less and less possible for man to imagine that he could be like the model? ... Is that the meaning of Christianity? Or is it the very reverse, that God's will is to express that he desires to be in relation with man, and therefore desires the thanks and the adoration which is in spirit and in truth: imitation? The latter is certainly the meaning of Christianity. But the former is a cunning invention of us men (although it may have its better side) in order to escape from the real relation to God." (In David Augsburger, Dissident Discipleship: A Spirituality of Self-Surrender, Love of God, and Love of Neighbor, 28)
Real Jesus-following is following-after Jesus. It's participation, not spectating. It's not pew-sitting. It's not being entertained. It's "following the footsteps of Christ in imitation" (St Francis of Assisi, in Ib., 27).
It's keeping in step with the Holy Spirit. Or, as Craig Keener translates this, "walking in the footsteps of the Holy Spirit."
Real Church was never meant to be an entertainment center. David Augsburger says that authentic Jesus-spirituality "accepts no substitute for actual participation." (Ib.)
Augsburger writes: "We are not observers, not spectators, not admirers, not onlookers, not conceptualizers, but participants. Participation is the central theological framework of all careful thought-about spirituality...
...The ideal of discipleship as participation through the imitation of Christ is a recurring theme, reemerging wherever the practice of following Jesus in life is given priority." (Ib.)
Anyone who claims to belong to Jesus must follow the path taken by Jesus. How will you do this?
Begin by reading the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John). Slow-cook in them. Become familiar with the Real Jesus.
Next, submit to the filling of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God will empower you to live, do, and say as Jesus lived, did, and said.
Finally, remember that this is a growth process. Even Jesus had to grow in wisdom and stature. (Luke 2:52)
My two books are
Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God.
Leading the Presence-Driven Church