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What's the Problem with "Followers"?

Picture yourself following Jesus… uphill. 

All you see directly in front of you on the incline is the back of his legs and heels. If you’re following closely (and I hope you are!), you can't see anything in front of Him. 

Only He can see what’s in front of Him. He's also the only one with a map in his hand, and you can't see that either. 

Sometimes you see something over his shoulder – a bit of the map, part of the path, maybe a destination or two. But you never really know the details. You only catch a glimpse. And if you do, it's only because He lets you.


That’s the life of a follower of Jesus – a disciple. 

When someone is following Jesus closely, she might feel like she’s slogging through dirt and mud. She might notice that the path is rocky and painful. She may say, "Why are we going this way? It's a mess. I’m exhausted!"

This disciple may look to his left or to his right and think that other paths appear smoother, drier; and he might wonder why Jesus didn't go that way instead. He may ask, “Why can't we take the easy path?”


At this moment the disciple has a choice. He can choose to keep following Jesus or step away onto the ‘easier’ path. I think many people choose the ‘easier’ path.


Because to stay on the path behind Jesus - not knowing where He's going, how He’s getting there, or even what we’re doing when we get there - requires extraordinary trust. 

To stay the course, we have to trust that the One we’re following:

·  knows the way.

·  loves and cares about us.

·  will protect, feed, and nourish us.

·  will stop and let us rest when we need it.

·  will clean us up and wash our feet once we get where we're going.


If we aren’t trusting Jesus like that, then when all the “why” questions come:Why are we going this way? Why is this road so long? Why can’t we take that easier road?

(and those questions will come), we’re going to want answers. We’re going to want to step out from behind Him and take control. We’re going to want to stop following, and start leading.

But if we are trusting Jesus, then the “whys” have no power over us.


Let’s say that at some point on our journey, we find ourselves in a beautiful meadow, beside a glistening stream, with flowers and a picnic laid out in front of us. We may wonder for a moment, “Why Lord? What is all this about?” But because we’ve been following Jesus closely and in trust, we know that He led us there, that it’s for us, now, in this moment, and we receive it freely.Then let’s imagine that at another time on our journey, we’re caught at night in the middle of a rainstorm, cold, wet, dirty, and hungry; and we may, for a moment, wonder “Why, Lord? What is this about?” But again, because we’ve been following Jesus closely and in trust, we know that He led us there for a reason, and we freely welcome what He has for us, even there.


That is what it’s like to follow Jesus in trust.


To wonder why is human, and when asked by someone who completely trusts the One they’re following, it becomes an act of worship full of wonder and awe.

But if our relationship with Jesus is riddled with doubt – if we’re harboring lies that He is  not good, that He has let us down before, that He loves others more than He loves us – then the why’s become accusations. And those accusations become demands. And before we know it, we’re standing in the mud, shouting at Jesus, refusing to follow Him one more step until our accusations are answered and our demands are met.


When it comes to struggling to follow Jesus, the problem isn’t in the path, or the leader, or even the why’s… the problem is the heart of the follower. And as difficult as this is for me to say, far too many of us don’t trust Jesus enough to really follow Him.

We’re here. We know we need Him. We want to trust Him. But many of us are just hanging on by a thread, hoping He’s as good as He says He is, but not trusting Him enough to surrender control and let Him lead us all the way.

Does that sound like you? The evidence of being on your own path instead of following Jesus is that you feel as though your feet are never clean, you're always trying to find the easier path, and you never get to rest and feast in the meadow by the stream. If that's what your "Christian" life looks like then you might want to ask yourself who, or what, you’re really following: Jesus? Yourself? The lies you believe? Or something else?


In my own personal experience, every time that I have trusted Him in challenging seasons, He has always shown Himself to love me and care for me. He has always given me times of rest before I collapse. And He has always washed my feet after the ordeal is over…even rejoicing in the victory with me.


Are you ready for that kind of trust? Do you want to be liberated from the lies that lure you off the path? Do you want to be freed to follow Jesus?

We’d love to hear from you to find out how we can walk with you to discover more about following Jesus.


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