Where He Leads Me I Will Follow

May 18, 2016

Matthew 16:24

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me

Let us ask ourselves the question this day, “How closely do I follow Jesus.”  If we were in a great multitude of people and Jesus was leading the crowd on a journey down the road, where would I be among that multitude?  Would it only be important to us that we were in the right crowd and headed in the right direction with Jesus in the forefront?  We might be laughing, playing visiting with our friends and enjoying their fellowship as we travel, but what does that One that is leading us mean to us in our journey?  Is our passion for Him compelling us to press through the crowd, with our desire being to come as close to Him as possible?  

Many of us are in the Church crowd, among the “Christian people”, and we’re fine with that.  That’s all we really need or desire.  There are too many other demands in our life to get too much more involved in that.  Beside maybe we are on a committee or teaching a Sunday school class; we’re active in the church in some way and so we feel satisfied that we are giving something back and fulfilling our Christian duty and responsibility.  Those can be good things, but is it because we are following Christ with passion and commitment; seeking His perfect will and purpose for our lives, or is it because we want to sooth our conscience and give the appearance that we are spiritual?  The heart-searching question we all need to ask is am I really taking up my cross and following Jesus or am I just running with and seeking to please the crowd?  I find, in my self, such a tendency to be spiritual in one context in my life, but then in another to be self-serving and self-indulgent, where I am pursuing my interest, my desire and my needs.  I think, “Lord, I am so much like that man that it talks about in James 1:22-25, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.”  I’m thinking why am I so much like King Saul, stubborn, rebellious and self-willed; professing godliness one hand, but then turning right around and doing things my way instead of His.  Could it be because I haven’t really taken up my cross?  That cross represents death to this old nature of sin and self.  Am I like Lot’s wife, who when fleeing Sodom and Gomorrah and commanded by the angel not to look back, looked back and was turned to pillar of salt.  I am reminded of the passage in Romans 6:5-14, “5If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. 

8Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 

11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.”  Aren’t we continually dealing with our tendency to slip back into the old mindset of the man of sin?  If we keep glancing back at the former man, then are we exchanging life for death, but we died to that old man that we might lay hold of the resurrection life and the hope we have in Christ Jesus.  

When we get complacent, when we get comfortable just hanging out with crowd, its not long before we get tired of walking this walk and we decide we’ll just rest for a while and then catch up.  If you have been there you know what that can do to your relationship and you intimacy with Christ.  You may not forsake your faith, but there is a leanness in your soul.  The longer you sit out, the further Christ is moving away from you, because you are not following and pursuing Him.  If you find that condition in your heart and find that your heart has grown callused and cold to spiritual life, then know that as the Lord seeks out the one sheep that is lost and gone astray, He is seeking you, to bring you back again into the fold.  Repent of those former things and turn again with all of your heart and renewed commitment back to Him.  Run to the front the crowd, lay hold of Him violently, with all of the passion of your soul.  Be wholly and completely His.  Take up your cross, that where He leads, you will follow Him.




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