Does being a follower mean the same thing as being a believer?

I know this guy is not Catholic, but he makes sense.

If so, why does Jesus discourage us from being his followers? As if he always doubts our capability to think that we would be capable of following him?

Sort of like saying to a child, if you want to be an A student, you have to do this… I want you to be an A stduent… but I doubt you can do it because your not capable.
Like a parent discouraging his child

Right now, I have followed him, I have been raised all my life as Catholic, and its as if that this werent enough and is demanding more… As if he really wanted to strip me of everything that I have to be a true follower…

Francis Chan also says that before you go into this battle, you need to know what your going into. You know what Christianity demands so you better make sure that you are aware of those rigours and be ready to meet them before going into it…

For many of us, like myself… I did not have a choice…I was born into the faith, batpized raised and even forced confirmed… One of the reasons why I decided to be a good Catholic against is if If I didnt continue it, it would be a waste of time of all those years of going into church, it would break my family tradition… sort of like… I was born into it anyway, so I might as well follow through with it…

and I give God all that I can to the best of my capabalities…Like I go out of my way to see him in adoration, I have made selfless sacrifices, I force my self to pray when I dont even feel like it… I have done many, drastic changes… Does he know the mental agony and scrupuoisty I have to go through to be a better Catholic??

but why does it seem that he is demanding more? And what if I cant give any more??

What does it mean to deny yourself, pick up your cross and follow me?? Does it mean complete denial?.. GOSH.;… this is so confusing

Like if I knew that all my efforts are in vain anyway and the things I do arent good enough for his eyes… I might as well give up on this whole Catholic thing and live by the world again, one day at a time.If I knew that the things that I do for him out of love arent good enough anyway, Screw it, just walk out because the outcome is the same anyway and that is that it isnt good enough.

If I knew that only few would make it to heaven, and I am not one of them but made big sacrfices anyway for him. I would feel ripped off wouldnt you? So I might as well live by the world again…


What if you cant completely deny,but you have denied yourself ALOT… this doesnt count?

is this not enough?

I would encourage you to consider avoiding Protestant proselytizing YouTube videos if they cause you this much spiritual turmoil. That is not a good sign.

Watch Fr. Robert Barron’s ( videos instead. :thumbsup:

I didn’t watch the video, but I imagine he was trying to make some cutesie rhetorical twist organized around a “follower vs. believer” motif. Is that accurate? It’s just a method of engagement. I wouldn’t interpret it as some type of theological treatise on what it means to be a follower. Jesus said “Follow me” a number of times in the Gospels.

Since there can be no such thing as a “half-way” Christian… what about the ordinary Catholic? Who have daily jobs? who have worldly concerns? who cant just walk out of their families to be a pastor…The regular Catholic family man who goes to church every Sunday with his family? Would their efforts be in vain??? since in the eyes of Jesus their efforts dont really fall under “complete denial”

what about the average Catholic joe who “believes” in Jesus and did, with all his effort, to lead a good life… is this not worthy in the eyes of God?

But this is not a protestant video as it is a universal Christian video… The things he says are straight from the bible

Jesus is not saying all of these trials and decisions will come your way. He doesn’t ask more of us than He knows we can give. The question is – if an extreme situation happened where you would have to decide whether to stick with Jesus or take the easy way out – what would you do? Remember, Jesus said to be eiither hot or cold. The luke-warm He would vomit out. Don’t remember the chapter and verse, but this is the idea. Who needs only fair-weather friends? Either you’re with me or you’re against me. If you truly love Jesus, then whatever the situation, you stand with Him. Being a Christian in easy times only, is not really being a Christian at all.

First, Jesus does not doubt…He knows. Just as a teacher can say that this is what you need to do to get an A, the teacher also knows that only some of the students will achieve that goal.

Similary, Jesus knows that not all will succeed. This is like the parable of the scattered seed; not all will take root and thrive, for various reasons. We cannot fault the sower, the teacher, or Jesus for the failure to succeed.

In response to your title question, No, being a follower is not the same as being a believer. Many people are “believers”, but few are “followers”. Jesus gives us several examples of that in the Gospels. Of course, “true believers” understand the implications of following Jesus (as the video stresses). We then see the separation of those who follow the Gospel no matter the consequences versus those who claim to be believers but whose belief will wilt if tested.

Very good questions, and thanks for pointing out the video.

So is this video basically a challenge for Christians to actually live their Christian faith?

There’s nothing wrong with that message, but living out our faith to the fullest doesn’t mean the same thing for every person. Some are called to priesthood or religious life. Some are called to live lives of service to the Church. But some are also called to be the best, most Christian member of their profession whether it be a doctor or lawyer or accountant or any number of things.

God will not forsake us simply because we are not perfect and fail at times. None of us are perfect and we all fail to live out our faith at times.

Again, I would caution you against taking theological cues from random YouTube videos. Talk through these issues with your Confessor or a good spiritual director.

I think Mr Chan has some good points.

I think you might take his talk though and compare it to where Jesus says in Matthew 12:

43 “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, he passes through waterless places seeking rest, but he finds none. 44 Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. 45 Then he goes and brings with him seven other spirits more evil than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. So shall it be also with this evil generation.”

The devil will make every effort to deter you from following Jesus. It IS a war. However, God provides weapons and defences. And you know what? The end has been make known to us. We WIN!

What Jesus is saying in Luke is just because you’ve decided to follow Him, it doesn’t mean that your battles are all won. Only the war.

But the war is not fought individually but as an army, as part of the Church (that is, those called out by Christ).

And the one who is faithful in all he does will rise to the top of leadership in the fight. If you can be faithful in small things you will be given responsibilites for greater. Jesus said, sufficient to the day is the evil thereof. However, some may end up in the hospital (succumb to sin and need to go to confession) and need to recover from wounds (penance) before they go back to battle.

In conclusion, I think that what Jesus wants you to do is consider that what He is asking you is not just taken on as a whim. Some aren’t ready for the fight, and are offended when persecutions come. These can very well go over to the enemy’s side at that point. They have not put themselves to the command of God, but rather to themselves. That’s the problem of half-heartedness. The power of God is lacking to one who is not willing to go to God for re-equipping.

From what you say, you are taking it seriously. That’s fine, start small and let Jesus lead you to greater things when he needs you. Just be ready.


I was using the word “protestant” as a generic descriptor for “non-Catholic”. There are many non-Catholic Christians out there who use the Bible in ways that don’t reflect Catholic teaching. When you rip quotes from Scripture out of context, there are a whole slew of interpretations people mistakenly arrive at.

Keep in mind that it’s really, really easy to say things directly from the bible but to put a spin on them that makes them seem as if they mean something that they don’t actually mean.

I haven’t yet had a chance to watch this video (no sound where I am), but I have heard many “works are useless, just believe” arguments, and they are definitely protestant arguments. (I also highly suggest Fr. Robert Barron.)

A short address to the general issue - keep in mind that that Jesus specifically says that there will be those who say “Lord Lord” but yet go to Hell, that the sheep and goats are separated according to whether or not they do works (I was hungry and you did not feed me, etc), that the only time “faith alone” appears in the bible there’s a “not by” in front of it, and the constant calls to discipleship Christ gives are more than “sit around and acknowledge that I exist.”

Remember also that Satan is a believer but not a follower - “even demons believe, and tremble” (James 2).

So if he manages to make a few bible verses sound like you’ve been doing things entirely wrong, don’t worry about it over much, at least without talking to a priest or spiritual director.

And finally: God very much knows and even shares in your pain. There is a reason why the Sacred Heart is depicted as surrounded by a crown of thorns. But if you can, try not to view following God as simply something you do to get into heaven. We should follow God primarily because, as we say in the Mass now, “It is right and just.” If you focus on doing what is right because it is pleasing to God, then all that remains is to trust in His mercy - which is certainly big enough to overcome any mistakes you or I might make.

If you have problems with scrupulosity, it might be worth talking to a priest or getting a spiritual director. Focus on the “hope” part of “faith, hope, and love.”

This was a mistake of some of the early desert fathers. They believed that you had to deny yourself completely and remove yourself from the world. They went off to the desert to pray 24 hours/day but soon figured out that they had to eat and sleep. Some tried to pay people to pray for them when they slept. Other monasteries prayed in shifts. They all struggled until they figured out that even sleep could be a prayer, even sleep could be done for the glory of God if it was to rest the body for a hard day’s work the next day.

The point is that we are all called to holiness within our state of life. A family man becomes Christ when he sacrifices his own desires for the good of his children and his wife and gives up his own life to take on that mission. When we work, we are to work for the betterment of our brother’s and sisters with whom we work, for the good of our customers, and to do the job as if Jesus himself was our customer.

Holiness through ordinary life is what St. Josemaria Escriva taught, that holiness was not just for a select few but that we are all called to holiness and can find that in digging ditches or writing insurance policies or changing diapers.

You may want to have a look as Opus Dei and some of the writings of St. Josemaria Escriva.

***Hurrying, hurrying! Working, working! Feverish activity, anxiety to be up and doing. Marvellous material structures…

Where spiritual things are concerned: broken up boxes, cheap cotton, painted cardboard, hurrying, working! And many people running here and there.

It is because in their work they think only of ‘today’; their vision is limited to what is ‘present’. You must see things with the eyes of eternity, ‘keeping present’ what has passed and what has yet to come…

Calmness. Peace. Intense life within you. Without that wild hurry, without that frenzy for change, you can work from your proper place in life. And, like a powerful generator of spiritual electricity, you will give light and energy to very many, without losing your own vigour and light.**

  • St. Josemaria Escriva, The Way, 837*

All of the saint’s writings are online at


With that being said… heres another question.

Can one be a believer but not be a follower?

If I decided to keep some mp3s I downloaded of the internet (namely soundtracks)… Am I in a state of sin?

What does this have to do with the thread you started???

Truly, no. To be a committed believer in Jesus means *to follow *Him. But anyone can say they “believe”. And many say they believe what their church teaches, or in certain religious rules and doctrines, or in scripture. But none of those are what is required of a “follower” of Jesus. He told us over again that it is in our actions that we demonstrate our faith, and “to follow” is an action verb. And the action that Jesus expects from us is more than praying, going to church, or reading the Bible. Those are important and can be vital to following Him, but they are not sufficient in themselves.

Many of us are too comfortable in our life styles to truly be His follower, and we remain comfortable by rationalizing what little we actually do in. In the movie and book, “The Help”, there is an amusing but quite sad story line about a well-off group of women raising money to send coats to African children, while totally ignoring the needs of the “African” children in their own community, for whom they could actually DO something. It was much easier and cleaner to use their monetary wealth to “help” children thousands of miles a way (by ironically sending coats to people in an equitorial climate) than to actually DO something constructive for their own neighbors. They were comfortable in their lifestyle and thought they were demonstrating their “Christian” concern for others, while in reality refusing to act in a Christian way to anyone outside their circle or who was considered “beneath” them. This great story clearly demonstrates the difference between believing and* following*.

Thank you for all your informed, well thought answers… Especially this one… It makes a lot of sense now. I will be meditating on your post in my next adoration session.

I have reasons to believe that I was under spiritual attack yeaterdaty… Nevertheless, no more protestant videos for me…

God bless you

Thank you… Lesson learned.

I will definitely check Fr Barron’s vids. Thanks for sharing the link. :thumbsup:
However… francis Chan does have several excellent sermons, despite him not being Catholic and all…

God bless and love

Sorry… I know it has nothing to do with it… i just had a random spur of scrupuloisity again… Im all good now though, thanks

I guess what I was trying to say was… If I had to be a follower of Christ, do I have to delete my mp3s since that is a form of self denial… Lol… Weird I know but I (think)!have my answer now and my mind has calmed down a bit…

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