The Art of Following

When I was kid our family would occasionally go over to someone’s house for dinner, and being that my brother and I were a little rowdy, mom would give us the “talk.” You know, that “talk”; don’t touch anything, don’t interrupt, don’t ask questions, don’t make weird noises, don’t fidget, don’t look board, and I know there was more. I kind of got the impression that I should be as invisible as possible. Yet one thing I do remember is that as we sat down we were suppose to keep an eye on the host or hostess and do what they did; start eating when they did, use my knife, fork and spoon like they did, and of course, no elbows on the table…“Mike slow down don’t eat so fast, don’t chew with your mouth open, don’t slouch …” Sorry, I just had a flashback. Anyway, the idea was to follow the lead of another. It was polite, and for a loose-cannon type of kid, this is just what I needed to keep me occupied and I even learned a few new things.

What is interesting is that depending on our personality (and to a strong degree our culture) we either have learned the art of following or not…or are somewhere in between. It’s like the time I was in a multi-car caravan. The usual rule is it’s mostly the cars that follow that need to be more vigilant in keeping up with the lead car, yet the lead car needs to be sensitive that they are adjusting so they can keep in sight. At stops along the way one of the drivers was complaining a little because it was taking some effort to follow and just wanted to drive at their own pace. To follow means we don’t do things our own way, but follow a leader.

Multiple times Jesus turned to people and said “Follow Me,” (Matthew 4:19, 8:22, 9:9, 10:38 to name a few). This invitation was not just an invitation to a meal or to caravan to the next village, this ‘follow Me’ meant a full life change. Read again John 3:1-15 (an interaction Jesus had with Nicodemus) where Jesus says to follow Him meant a ‘born again’ change. The Apostle said it clearly:

Philippians 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

For Paul, life was following Jesus; doing what He did, fulfilling His purposes. And Paul said to others:

1 Corinthians 11:1 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

Paul had learned the art of following and chose to follow Jesus. Peter did the same and challenges us:

1 Peter 2:21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps.

If we are going to grow in our faith and be more like Jesus, than we are going to have learn the art of following. We need to practice all those tough things like submitting to Jesus’ way, obeying Jesus’ Word, paying attention to Jesus’ purposes, learning from our mistakes, and trying actions not natural to us yet what Jesus has asked of us (like loving like Jesus). As we learn this art of following we will be more like Jesus.

So where are you in this all-in commitment of following Jesus? Are you learning this art of following? If so, how can you tell? Do others see that you are following Jesus? Let’s learn this art well.

Seeking to better the art of following with you,

Mike

P.S. We are nearing the end of our More Like Jesus campaign. If you missed any part of it, please check out our web site http://www.cypresschurch.net .

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