hike follow lead disciple

Discipleship is the process of imitating a teacher.

A Christian is, by definition, an imitator of Jesus Christ.

A Christian is also one who was called by Jesus out of the world and into Himself.

This is the definition of the two Greek root words that combine to form ekklesia, the church.

In other words, when we become a Christian, the following things take place:

  • Jesus calls us (individually).
  • We leave our life of sin among the darkness of the world (John 1:6-13).
  • We step into Jesus Himself, dying to ourselves so that He lives in us (Rom. 6; Gal. 2:20).

In the post "How to Know When GOD is Calling Us," I wrote about how GOD calls us and leads us today, as His son or daughter in Christ. In this post, I want to dig deeper into the concept of following His lead.

When Jesus calls us, the follower must follow immediately. Consider the occasion from Matt. 8:18-22 and Luke 9:57-62.

Mt When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, "Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go." Lk Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."

He said to another man, "Follow me."

But the man replied, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father."

Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God."

Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family."

Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."
(The Daily Bible, pp. 1397-1398, emphasis added)

Wow, have you stopped to consider what Jesus is saying here?!?

Here we have two willing, would-be-disciples who approached Jesus about following Him, and they both had two simple, very "reasonable" requests before they joined Him.

And Jesus rebukes them both.

Why?

Because they had their priorities out of line. These guys weren't really ready to be Jesus' disciples. They weren't ready to follow Him wherever He led them...immediately.

You see where I'm going with this, don't you?

Consider two of Jesus' short parables with me.

44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
(Matt. 13:44-46 NIV)

When Jesus calls us—when we see who He is and what He offers us (which is Himself, in His fullness)—the disciple recognizes the value and immediately sells out to attain Him.

No turning back.

No hesitations.

Immediate followership. 

Burn the boats.

But this decision is just the start, this journey is just beginning.

Following Jesus is an all-day, full-time responsibility. It's very much a way of life. It is, in actuality, a new life. And it's hard at times. But it's worth it all the time.

Jesus promised:

23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.
(Luke 9:23-24 NIV)

Sometimes, Jesus leads us over mountains to glorious views.

Other times He leads us through beautiful peaceful gardens that amaze us with His closeness and love.

And sometimes He leads us into places and situations of persecution and suffering. We must continue following through the hard times as well as the good.

It scares me to think what "but first, let me" excuses I may be giving GOD, what places He's trying to lead me but I'm resisting like a stubborn mule.

Discipleship of Jesus—having His favor and approval—is all the world to me. I honestly believe I would immediately trade this world and all its stuff for a home in heaven with my LORD. I just hope and pray my actions match what I believe is in my heart.

I've been thinking (and writing) a lot about discipleship lately.

The old song "Where He Leads Me I Will Follow" has become increasingly-dear to me.

I sing it, not as one who has attained what the words state, but as a prayer that I might attain it.

Where He Leads Me I Will Follow

I can hear my Savior calling,
I can hear my Savior calling,
I can hear my Savior calling,
“Take thy cross and follow, follow Me.”

Where He leads me I will follow,
Where He leads me I will follow,
Where He leads me I will follow;
I’ll go with Him, with Him, all the way.

I’ll go with Him through the garden,
I’ll go with Him through the garden,
I’ll go with Him through the garden,
I’ll go with Him, with Him all the way.

I’ll go with Him through the judgment,
I’ll go with Him through the judgment,
I’ll go with Him through the judgment,
I’ll go with Him, with Him all the way.

He will give me grace and glory,
He will give me grace and glory,
He will give me grace and glory,
And go with me, with me all the way.

Jesus is calling.

Let's follow.

Now.

Tim Harris
Author: Tim Harris

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