Recently someone commented about the religious affiliation on my Facebook profile. I’ve have it listed simply as Christ-follower. That is who I am today. My aim is to walk in His way on the path set before me. But there was another time in my life when it would have said something entirely different.
I first came to know Christ as a child. My sister and her husband had me over every weekend for many years so that I could go to church with them. It was under their care that I first began to know the Lord and took that fateful walk to the altar to give my life to Him.
I gave Him my life, but I didn’t truly follow Him. Instead, I followed church leaders and Sunday school teachers who I thought knew the way. But as a young teen, the teacher I was following made a turn I knew to be wrong. I stopped following his lead but I didn’t look to see where Christ was to follow Him. I simply determined no longer to follow man but to follow Ann. I lived many years that way until our paths crossed again and I discovered Him fully.
Have you ever tried to follow someone through a group of people? It’s not always easy. It's an adventure every Sunday trying to navigate through the exiting mass after church and stay together as a family. To follow my husband through the throng, I must first keep my eyes on him. I still have to watch out for obstacles in my path, but without knowing where he is, I can lose him in the crowd. When I am the one leading the family out, I keep a watchful eye on them so that should they get off track I can go to where they are. Eventually, we all make it out together and begin our search for the car.
My life with Christ has been much like that. When I was following Ann, Christ kept an ever watchful eye on me. Because I was already His child, He would often come to where I was. I see this pattern so clearly in retrospect. While I was choosing the path to walk upon, He never lost sight of me and was never very far away.
As I strive to follow Him today, I need to keep my eyes upon Him, not on the world, nor religion, nor myself. There are still times where I let my eyes slip away and begin to follow a path that looks fine only to be led away from Him. Realizing that where I am is not where I want to be I’ll turn my eyes back to Him. But it takes so much more effort to go off-trail, cutting through the underbrush and tangles I’ve created, to where He is waiting on the right path.
The paths of life are much easier to traverse when I keep my eyes on Him. When He leads, I can be confident that the way He has chosen is the best possible path to navigate the current terrain. It may still be rocky, or steep, or even extremely challenging at times, but I can trust that His way is the safest and the best. He knows what lies ahead. He never promised that His way would be easy, just that we'd never have to do it alone.
Do you remember the scene in Peter Pan where the children are playing Follow the Leader? As they play, they sing a song, “We’re following the leader, the leader, the leader; following the leader wherever he may go”. My prayer is for both the wisdom and courage to model those children and follow my Leader wherever He may go.
While negotiating through life, we all follow something. Even when we think we are leading, we are really just following trends, values or social norms. Who are you following today? Is Christ your leader or have your eyes turned elsewhere?
Turn your eyes upon Jesus; look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace