Matthew 19:21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Mark 1:17 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”
If you read them in context, which is really the only way to read the Bible, these are aimed at folks that did not know Jesus personally. Not to mention that it was before the Holy Spirit was given, and following God was all that you could do. Following is in fact pre-salvation if you'd like to get technical about it. It was only later that Jesus said we need to believe
John 6:35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe.
In context it says that we need to not only follow, as many did to see him perform miracles and preach, but to believe that he is the Messiah. There were lots of things that Jesus told his followers to believe.
John 11:26 Who ever lives and believes in me will never die, do you belienve this?
As I have discussed before belief and faith are not the same. The next step in becoming a Christian is faith. I understand that in English that those words can often be interchanged. Here is the difference. I believe that Obama is the President of the USA; it is a fact. Whether on not I have faith in him to do his job is an entirely different story Faith is in the unseen works, and belief is in the facts.
It is NOT until we have faith in Christ, that salvation actually takes place. Therefore; belief is sometimes pre-salvation as well.
Why does it bother me to say that I am a "Christ follower," or "I follow the teaching of Jesus?" Because it does not accurately express the following truths!
I am a New Creation:
2 Corinthians 2:16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
I am Transformed:
2 Corinthians 3:18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Christ Lives in Me:
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
I am a Christian, a little Christ bought with a price. God lives in me, so that I can be conformed to His image. Umm and I can't follow myself! I can believe the teachings of Christ are important, even essential, but without faith I cannot please God. (Hebrews 11:16) Once He lives in me, under the power of the Holy Spirit, I can be Him to a lost and dying world.
Let's stop being like Jesus and be Jesus, for we have the spirit of God within us!
How about you, are you just a follower, or are you a Christian?