In Manitoba where I live, several times during the winter, it becomes difficult to drive due to a blizzard or snowstorm. The combination of snow falling and heavy winds can create conditions where it is difficult to see where you are going.
I remember one particular instance many years ago when I found myself in just such a situation driving down the highway. The snow was blowing so hard that day that I was having trouble even seeing whether I was in my lane or not. At one point I came up on the back of a semi-trailer and decided I would simply follow it as far as I could. While I couldn’t see a lot, one thing I could see was the top of the trailer. Suddenly at one point I began to see the lights of the trailer tilt towards the ditch and I realized, although it was helpful to follow the truck, it would only be helpful to a point. I still needed to be aware of where I was so I could make my turn towards home when I needed to. In addition, if I was not careful, there was also the possibility I could follow that trailer directly into the ditch.
In life, we have a choice as to who we follow. It might be the friends we choose, our team leader at work, or even the person we choose to “follow” on our chosen form of social media. Some of these can have a positive influence and in reality, others may not. But no matter who we follow, if we are not careful, we might end up going in a direction we did not intend to go and end up somewhere we never wanted to end up.
Yet, there is one who we can be confident will never lead us astray if we follow him, and that is Jesus Christ. In fact, he calls us to follow him above all others.
In John 8:12 we read, “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
When we submit ourselves to Jesus, he has promised that he will never lead us astray and that we will never be overcome by the darkness of sin, evil or the world. His call for us to follow him is for our own good and as we follow him, he will enable us to do what he asks us to.
What a wonderful promise and calling. However, as we read Jesus’ words throughout the gospels, he makes it clear that to truly follow him we must realize that it will not always be easy and it will often require that we put aside many of our own desires.
In Matthew 16:24-25 we read, “Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.”
In Jesus’ day, to carry a cross meant one thing – to die. And when Jesus called his followers to carry their cross, he was calling them to die to themselves, to give up their earthly desires and concerns and instead to put Jesus first and follow his leading. To truly be Jesus’ disciples, we must be willing to die to ourselves and be willing to submit completely to Jesus and his leading.
The cost of following Jesus can be too much for some. In Luke 9: 57 – 63, we are told of three people who wanted to follow Jesus but were unwilling to act on what Jesus asked of them. They were simply unwilling to take up the cross and to give up everything for him.
Are we willing to give up everything if called upon to do so, for the cause of Christ?
Let us remember Jesus’ words in Matthew 16:25, “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.” Although Jesus’ call to take up the cross and follow him can be difficult, the rewards are immeasurable.
This article was originally published in The Recorder Vol 60 No. 2