Following: Taking the best path

IMG_0893

“Follow me.” Two simple words, follow and me, but together they are very influential. Their impact has been tremendous on my life and possibly yours as well. These two words have made me stop at different times: stop and hesitate. Following feels a little scary and unpredictable for me. I want it to be more clear, hopeful,  and cheery, like the followers of the yellow brick road. I can hear Dorothy and the little Munchkins singing:

“Follow the Yellow Brick Road. Follow the yellow brick road.
Follow, follow, follow, follow…  Follow the yellow brick road.”

I, on the other hand, feel uncertain, like I might be led on a path resembling a maze, unclear of the way I should take next. Will I lose my footing and go over a cliff into the unknown? On the other hand, will I wander down a dark hole with no light for my steps? How can I be sure where I am going?

Why is following so difficult? I know I want assurance before I take the next step. Maybe you can relate. If so, keep reading. Nevertheless, know that following Jesus enlarges our world and takes us to better places than even OZ.

Better than Oz

“Follow me,” Jesus says. What do you think, feel or say when you hear these two words?  Even though it seems clear enough, my heart deliberates and wonders, “Will I be happy? Will I have enough? Will my needs be taken care of?

However, what if I truly believe the one leading was completely reliable, trustworthy and good? I want to believe, as in Psalm 66, that He is the One that brings me “into a place of abundance.”  Abundance sounds good! If I remember He is Creator, Maker, the One who calmed the sea, the feeder of the 5,000, and the keeper of the birds, then maybe He can provide for me as well.

“Follow me,”  I hear said, not in a demanding or shaming voice, but in a wooing and tender tone, full of love and grace. I ask, “But where am I going? Where will I end up? How do I know this is the best path?”

Jesus, the one who holds the keys of forgiveness and eternal life, calls me, asking me to learn from Him, be with Him and trust Him. His love, mercy and grace are deep and wide.  I am reminded in Psalm 25:10 that says, “All the paths of the Lord are lovingkindness and truth.”  He offers me His life and His love. He will be with me and will sustain me with His life and His love.

“Follow me.” I hear Him say. However, I still wonder what others may think. “What if they do not approve? Can I be sure this is the right way? Should I wait, double-check or prepare a few things first before I go?”

The One who asks, the giver of life, the restorer and lover of my soul, is the one I follow. He demonstrated He is worth following, as He healed the blind, blessed the children and gave women back their dignity. He said, “I came that they might have life and might have it abundantly.”  He gave His life so that I might have life. This is a life worth following and living. I so desire the verse from Psalm 87, “All my springs of joy are found in you,” to be the song of my life.

 A Crossroads in my path

Are you at a crossroads? Possibly, you are like me and you need to trust Him with the next step.  For me the next step seems clear enough right now, but not the next one after that. I hear him whisper, “Come with me.”  Maybe you have a big decision before you and you are scared. Perhaps, following Him means choosing a different path than you expected, a different major, career or way of life.  I hear him say, “I go before you.”  “Follow me,” may seem challenging, but it is the very thing we need to do at the crossroads.

So, how do I keep following or step back on the path He is leading?

  1. Keep my eyes on Him, and keep by His side. Frequent reading and dwelling on the gospels are good for this.
  2. Walk by faith. His nearness and presence are rich when I walk by faith.
  3. Remember I am loved. My perfect Father in heaven loves me and will not lead me astray. He desires childlike trust.
  4. Do not be surprised by doubt, distraction and discouragement. They will tempt to weigh me down and prevent me from following Jesus.
  5. Keep my eyes, also, beyond myself. Be involved in caring for others. He leads me in good paths, to the fullest and best life. There is something much bigger going on than the next simple step I take, but that next step by faith will lead me to something much larger and greater than the finite plans I could claim.

The hesitations and even masked objections to following Christ are nothing new. But I don’t want those to keep me from what God has for me. Hopeful followers in the New Testament had the same questions that I encounter and probably the same concerns as you. Next time let’s look at what Jesus says to them. We may find out that following Christ really does enlarge our life, intersecting our path with the Lord’s mission and harvest.poppy

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *