How many have played the game “Follow the Leader”? The rules are pretty simple, what ever the leader does-the followers must mimic the leader’s movements or they are out of the game. It’s a fun, simple and quick game that even a little child can play. What many fail to see is that they need to play “Follow the Leader” for the rest of their lives. One of the statements that Jesus repeatedly made during His time on Earth was, “Follow Me.” (Matthew 4:19, Matthew 8:22, Matthew 9:9, Matthew 19:21, Luke 9:59, John 21:22) These two words, though they sound simple, can actually be hard to do. What exactly does it mean to “follow”? There are many definitions: “move behind in the same direction” or “to accept the authority of and give allegiance to.” Christ urged this directive “Follow Me” to His disciples and to those who asked to accompany Him. As human beings, we have the independent ability to freely make our choices, granted some choices are not wise and we suffer the consequences. However, if one follows Christ, the unwise choices that were made can be forgiven if one will ask. By following Christ it’s easier to stay on the path of everlasting life. Jesus said, “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14 NLT) Facing the constant struggles of life can make it difficult to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. However, if one follows Jesus, he or she will not get lost and will enter into the gateway of eternal life.
The first time that Jesus spoke the words, “Follow Me” was to His future disciples, Peter and Andrew. As He walked by the Sea of Galilee and saw them fishing, He said, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men…” (Matthew 4:19-20) The most amazing part of this story is that the Bible says that both men immediately left their nets and followed Jesus. The actions of these future disciples are quite indicative of how believers should live their life after turning their life over to God. The disciples no longer gave sin credence in their lives and started a new journey with Christ. How hard is it for new believers to turn aside from their old lifestyle and leave behind the drunkenness, gossiping, fornication, adultery, etc.? Stopping sinful behavior to truly follow Jesus may be easier said than done, but if you lean on the words of Jesus- you can achieve His gift of salvation.
During another time, a man told Jesus that he needed to bury his father before he started following Him and Jesus told the man, “Follow me and let the dead bury their dead.” (Matthew 8:22) Dakes Annotated Bible offers further explanation in that Christ reply to the man meant, let the spiritually dead bury the physical dead and those who are spiritually alive follow the Living God. The truth of the matter is that people come up with countless excuses as to why they shouldn’t change their lifestyle in order to follow the footsteps of Jesus. Nevertheless, one just needs to remember that the wages of sin are death (Romans 6:13). The scripture continues “…but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Christ extends His hand in love, for He is well aware of the spiritual battle we face in our daily life. He offers, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) Our burdens are heavy on our mind and body, what a priceless gift to have the Son of God offer our souls rest. Not to mention, in following Jesus and giving your allegiance to Him, the fruits of the Holy Spirit-love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are exclusively available to you (Galatians 5:22).
As one lives in this worldly world full of temptation and wickedness, entering the narrow gate isn’t effortless. How does one stay on the straight and narrow path? One cannot do it solo; not only does one need to follow Jesus, but cling to his undying love and promises. There will be times when one feels the need to stray onto the wide path of temptation. Take heed and remember when facing these arrows that life throws at you, Jesus said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,” (Hebrews 13:5) One of my favorite songs is Follow Me. The lyrics are sang from the perspective of Jesus exhorting many to follow Him, “Now the road may not be easy, Don’t you know I promise, I will never ever let you down…” Don’t miss the chance to follow the greatest Leader who walked the Earth and laid down His life, giving you the truest path to follow. Please take a moment and listen to Maurette Brown Clark’s song and Follow Him.