In the recorded words of Jesus, the phrase "follow me" can be found 18 times in the text of the KJV New Testament. In recent years, however, with the development of internet forums and social media, the concept of following someone has taken on a very different meaning. I don't know that they coined the idea, but Twitter has certainly made it famous. It is used in internet forums. It is used by Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and maybe some others of which I'm not familiar. You can actually "follow" a number of celebrities on Twitter and be able to read their personal thoughts as they share them from time to time. "Following" in the internet world, is the idea of showing interest in a person's life, subscribing to an organization's services, or even just being curious about a business' product.
In the realm of internet following, there is not a great deal of commitment involved. If you realize you do not agree with a celebrity after following them, you can stop. If you realize a company's product is too expensive after following them, you can stop. If following a particular person or group is taking up too much of your time, you can stop following them. If your priorities and desires change at some point, which puts you in conflict with someone or some organization you are following, you can stop. You can even stop following someone and start again later if you choose to do so.
Unfortunately, far too many treat their discipleship of Jesus the same way they treat their online networking. Once they read something Jesus has said that they don't agree with, they stop following Him. Once they realize the cost of following Jesus is too great, they stop following Him. Once they realize they don't want to put in the time required for following Jesus, they stop following Him. Once they realize their priorities and desires have changed from when they first started following Jesus, they stop following Him. Sometimes they go through a cycle of wanting to follow Him, not wanting to follow Him, wanting to follow Him, and not wanting to follow Him.
When Jesus said, "Follow me," He made it very clear that: (1) It will require every fiber of your being; (2) It will require every second of your day; (3) It will require every ounce of your will. He said, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me" (Luke 9:23). When we do this, our hearts are better, our thoughts are better, our lives are better, and, most importantly, our eternity is better. Clifton preaches for the Coldwater church of Christ in Coldwater, MS