1 Mar 2009
The primary instruction Jesus gives to His followers is to follow Him. This seems rather simplistic, however, most of us have difficulty applying this in our lives most of the time. There resides within us, in the deep reaches of our pride, the desire to know the options and select one of our own choosing.
This is the pride that keeps us from following. We want to know where we are going. We want to decide if we think this direction is a good idea.
From scripture we get the idea that there are different levels of following. For example we see Jesus calling His disciples to follow Him.
Matthew 4:18-20 (NASB95)
18 Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.
19 And He said* to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men."
20 Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.
As His ministry progresses He seems to raise the bar for those who would follow Him.
Matthew 10:38 (NASB95)
38 "And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.
Mark 8:34 (NASB95)
34 And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.
Peter was following Jesus when He was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. He had stated that he would die defending Jesus, but Jesus knew the depth of Peter’s ability to follow Him. Later, after Jesus rose from the dead, He instructed His disciples to meet Him in Galilee. While they were in a boat fishing Jesus appeared on the shore. After instructing them to cast their nets on the other side of the boat, resulting in an unbelievable catch, Jesus had a conversation after breakfast with Peter on the shore. This is the famous series of three questions …. Do you love me? Peter had apparently grown in his humility evidenced by the manner he answered these questions. Then Jesus gave him again the command, follow Me.
Peter fell on the trip wire of getting his eyes [ and mind ] off of Jesus when he apparently heard someone behind him. Jesus had just indicated to Peter how he would die. When Peter turned around he saw John and he ask Jesus how John would die? Jesus answered him, in short, it is none of your business how John will die…. Only you follow me.
John 21:20-22 (NASB95)
20 Peter, turning around, saw* the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; the one who also had leaned back on His bosom at the supper and said, "Lord, who is the one who betrays You?"
21 So Peter seeing him said* to Jesus, "Lord, and what about this man?"
22 Jesus said* to him, "If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!"
The degree to which we follow Jesus is directly related to the extent of our humility. We must humble ourselves and submit to Jesus and Jesus alone. We must take our eyes off of others. We must take our eyes off of the wind and the waves. We must die and become a living sacrifice if we are to follow Jesus.
Pride pull us away from fully following Jesus. It causes us to ask about others and look to other things rather than keeping our eyes on Jesus. Pride causes us to hold on to those things that build us up and stand in the way of our lives bringing glory to God.
Luke 18:21-22 (NASB95)
21 And he said, "All these things I have kept from my youth."
22 When Jesus heard this, He said to him, "One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."
Prayerfully meditate on the following questions:
How is pride blocking you from following Jesus? What are you looking at that is distracting your focus on Jesus?
What are you holding on to that will not allow you to fully follow Jesus?
Ask God to shine his search light on your life and reveal those things that are keeping you from following Him
Ask God to open your eyes to the places that pride is hiding and causing destruction and defeat in your life.
Ask God for the power and perspective to consistently develop humility and followership in your life.