When we are told to “Follow,” two questions jump to the front, The first is, “Are you safe?” We are conditioned to not follow strangers. But this wisdom of the streets creates problems as we follow Jesus.Our fears and concerns do not simply evaporate. We need to experience the gentleness of Jesus as He leads. And of course, the only way to experience that, is by taking the first step. So our fears and our faith engage in a tug of war. That tension is felt with the second tension, “Where are we going?” I’ve never been comfortable with the “just follow my tail lights” method of exploring unknown territory. I’d rather have my route mapped out with the destination explicitly defined. Jesus doesn’t seem to be concerned about my preference for certainty. He reminds me that He is safe and that He knows where He is taking me. He simply repeats, “Follow Me.”
Once the core questions of following are resolved (and they never are completely) there are some practicalities of our pursuit to master. Let me offer three and then close with goosebumps.
To follow Jesus:
Keep Him in Sight You can’t follow who you can’t see. Since Jesus doesn't tell us where He is leading, we must continually keep Him in view. As Hebrews teaches, we finish this run by “…keeping our eyes on Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2).
Keep His Pace To follow someone, you have to maintain his speed. I've found it a challenge to keep God's pace. He's usually not too fast for me, but often too slow! I find myself way out front. In that case, I'm not following but leading. Jesus stops and waits for me to turn around. I'm learning that this is not a race. There is rest for my soul as I follow.
Keep His Pattern Eventually we learn that the pattern of Jesus' life cannot be mimicked. It has to be grown. I don’t simply do what Jesus did (as if I had the power.) But instead, I invite and allow the Spirit to nurture the life of Jesus within me. The life of Jesus is not a template but a river of living water flowing from within.
Keep Going I promised goosebumps. Here's good news! When you follow someone, you wind up where they are. Following Jesus is not so much about destination but relationship. It's not about a place but a Person. Jesus is leading us that we might be with Him (John 17:24). This is an adventure of love. Not only do I want to catch Him, but He wants to get caught.