Skip to main content

I will follow you....

Remember the old Ricky Nelson song, "I Will Follow You"? The song started out with the words, "I will follow you, follow you wherever you may go, there isn't an ocean too deep, a mountain so high it can keep me away." I know this song was talking about someone's "true love", but the words just stuck me this morning - I will follow you...wherever you may go. Those are powerful words - especially when they are spoken to Jesus in sincerity. The idea is that we will follow - even when things seem a little harder than usual, or when the path seems a little 'foggy' at times. We will follow - no matter what. Why? We love him and our heart sings just as Ricky used to sing, "I love you, I love you, I love you!"

You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God. You’re blessed when you follow his directions, doing your best to find him. That’s right – you don’t go off on your own; you walk straight along the road he set. You, God, prescribed the right way to live; now you expect us to live it. Oh, that my steps might be steady, keeping to the course you set; then I’d never have any regrets in comparing my life with your counsel. I thank you for speaking straight from your heart; I learn the pattern of your righteous ways. I’m going to do what you tell me to do; don’t ever walk off and leave me. (Psalm 119:1-8)

Today, as most days, I am challenged by the meaning of the word “follow” - maybe because I don't always do a very good job with this one - trying to take the lead when I really need to just follow the one who really needs to be in the lead! To follow implies many things that I have come to appreciate:
  • To accept the authority of the one we make a matter of our focus or attention – it implies a condition of obedience to the authority and counsel of our righteous God. Don't gloss over this one, for it begins with focus or attentiveness - we rarely follow anything that is no longer in our focus. To keep God in our focus - central in our thoughts and primary in our choices is hard, but it is the beginning of a great journey!
  • To come to a specified place in a specified time, sequence, or order – we are brought into a place well-planned for us in the exact timing, by the exact method, and in the specific purposes of our unchanging God. The idea of following means we are engaged in the pursuit of something - not just blindly tagging behind. We know there is a specific plan, and we are engaged in that plan, listening attentively to the one who is leading us within that plan.
  • To imitate – it is our greatest glory to imitate, or take on the image, of our God. We all imitate something or someone - not one of us are truly unique. There are always examples we pick up little bits and pieces of and 'imitate' in our speech, actions, 'style', etc. The idea of following so as to 'imitate' carries more than the idea of taking on 'selected traits' of the one we are following, but rather the taking on of all the traits Christ has revealed in his character.
  • To watch steadily, observe keenly, or to keep the mind on – it is not an inattentive, haphazard pursuit, but one of purposeful, directed steps with a fixed focus and an enlarged perspective. We sometimes limit our forward progress because we limit our focus to the things we 'want' in our lives and forget the things we 'need' might just be more important! God isn't just after us following him for our 'wants' - he would also like us to follow him because of our 'needs'.
  • To chase or pursue – passionately engaged in truly catching or laying hold of the one we pursue – overcoming him with our passionate pursuit is what he has in mind as we set out on this journey with him. Not overcoming him so as to 'take over' the control again, but to 'catch up' to him so as to be walking as closely to him as possible.
We don’t go off on our own – we remain consistent in the path he designs, even in the midst of our own battle of will that pulls us to take an easier path or one promising us more tantalizing reward. We walk straight – not veering in our course. It is a blessed thing to remain – to not be used up by the path we pursue, to not be destroyed along the way. This ability to “remain” is provided by the God of divine compassion – the one who makes our ways straight and gives us the endurance to stand strong. He prescribes the way – outlines the plan. Our part is to walk in what he prescribes. In the end, the promise is a life free of regrets. Oh, I am sure that sounds like “pie in the sky” for many of us – we’ve already endured more regrets that we care to admit. It is never too late to “begin again” in the course God has prepared for us – to lay aside past regrets and to pursue the path he outlines in the pursuit of all he plans for us.

Regret is an outcome of disappointment – a result of hopes dashed, dreams unfulfilled, and losses deeply felt. This is not the outcome of pursuing the one that is unchangeable in all his ways – it most definitely the result of our pursuit of our own selfish desires, focusing our attention on imperfect people, or embracing empty relationships. We protect ourselves from regret by embracing his wise counsel – by comparing our every movement with what he has outlined in his Word. In it, God outlines “safe paths” and speaks to us “straight from the heart” so that we can avoid the pitfalls of disappointment that await us down the paths he has not designed. We learn to walk in his paths one step at a time – it is not a dash, nor is it a relay. It is a consistent, forward movement toward a goal. It is a patterned pursuit – marked out by the Master of our souls. As we daily seek his paths, we learn to step out in a growing assurance that the way is ordered, well-marked, and free of all that brings harm. At first, we may step out in the path God outlines, then quickly veer to the direction that appeals more to our natural reasoning, only to find ourselves knee deep in hazards we did not anticipate. At these times, we even are so vain as to blame God for the hazards – we question why we face the things that seem to have brought harm into our lives. Thank God, he is a merciful guide – he points out the hazards, heals our wounds, righting our stand – then he places us on course once again. Even in the midst of our accusing and questioning ways, he tenderly guides.

It is a good thing to walk in such a way that we never veer off course, but is an even more comforting thing to know that when we do wander or drift, he is there to restore and renew. He has even planned for our “changeableness” – knowing full well that we may purpose to do what he has revealed for us to do, but that our self-man is weak in its commitment to that path. We are like David – we yearn for the path he prepares – yet we struggle to resist the appeal of the path that offers the immediate reward, the passing enjoyment. David purposed to walk straight – let that be our purpose, as well. Just sayin!


Popular posts from this blog

Noticed by grace

Stop and notice life around you from time to time - you might just be surprised by what you observe!
Sometimes we miss the "little things" in life. I guess I am as guilty of "glossing over" stuff as the next person. I wonder how much I really miss out on because I never stop long enough, listen close enough, or draw close enough to really "catch" what is happening? There are times when life passes us by at break-neck speed, or perhaps we are passing it by at that insane speed! Slow down, listen a little, get in touch with things and people around you. Notice stuff - it might just blow your mind!

I spelled out your character in detail to the men and women you gave me. They were yours in the first place; then you gave them to me, and they have now done what you said. They know now, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that everything you gave me is firsthand from you, for the message you gave me, I gave them; and they took it, and were convinced that I came fro…

The bobby pin in the electrical socket does what???

Avoidance is the act of staying away from something - usually because it brings some kind of negative effect into your life.  For example, if you are a diabetic, you avoid the intake of high quantities of simple sugars because they bring the negative effect of elevating your blood glucose to unhealthy levels.  If you were like me as a kid, listening to mom and dad tell you the electrical outlets were actually dangerous didn't matter all that much until you put the bobby pin into the tiny slots and felt that jolt of electric current course through your body! At that point, you recognized electricity as having a "dangerous" side to it - it produces negative effects when embraced in a wrong manner.  Both of these are good things, when used correctly.  Sugar has a benefit of producing energy within our cells, but an over-abundance of it will have a bad effect.  Electricity lights our path and keeps us warm on cold nights, but not contained as it should be and it can produce …

Getting at the heart of it all

Have you ever seen someone so good with their skinning knife they can just peel away the hide of an animal without a rip or tear, no waste of any of the meat just below that skin? I have seen some fishermen able to fillet their catch with such skill not even one bone is found in the fillet. How do they learn this skill? I think it comes to them through practice and with the employment of the right 'tool' to do the job at hand. There is comfort in knowing that God means what he says and his Word will come to pass. His Word is like the scalpel in the skilled hands of a surgeon or the knife in the hands of the skilled hunter. As a nurse, I have seen the skillful use of the scalpel - dissecting away the finest of tissue to protect the healthy tissue and to expose the tissue that has become devitalized by disease or decay. I have also seen the damage done by a "blade" in the hands of one not trained or at all skilled in its use. The difference is beyond description.

God m…