“Where He Leads Me I Will Follow”

James E. Farley

The title of this article comes from an old song written by E.W. Blandly with which most of us are very familiar.  It is an affirmation that “I Have Decided To Follow Jesus,” which is another song, attributed to S. Sundar Singh, we often sing.  However, before one can truly sing these songs and mean what they say, he must count the cost of being a disciple of Jesus.  Jesus said as much in Matthew 16:24-26 and in Luke 14:25-33.

In the passage from Luke, our Lord begins by saying we must love Him more than we love even our parents, children, brothers, or sisters.  If we do not love Him in this way, He says, “…he cannot be my disciple.”  (Luke 14:26).  Some people cannot be disciples of Christ, for they simply will not love Him as He requires.  (John 8:31-32; 14:15; 15:14).  Remember how He said, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth:  I came not to send peace, but a sword.  For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.  And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.  He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me:  and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me …”  (Matthew 10:34-37).

Notice carefully what Jesus said in Matthew 16:24-26.  “If any man will come after me …”   Following Jesus has to do with a person’s will.  There must be a willingness if one is truly to follow Jesus as Lord and Christ.  Notice, too, “any man.”   The Lord calls all men to Him through the preaching of the gospel.  Rich, poor, old, young, black, white, red, yellow, educated, and uneducated: All are called.  “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  (Matthew 11:28).  Another song we sing, written by J. M. McCaleb, says, “The Gospel Is For All.”  This is true, for the Word says, “whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”  (Revelation 22:17).  Here is a great paradox: Salvation is indeed free, but it costs a great deal.

The passage in Matthew 16 says, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross …”   Notice, carefully, that it DOES NOT say, “You have to deny yourself some things.”  It says, “deny himself” and “take up his cross.”  One who truly submits to God’s righteousness (right ways) puts himself to death!  (Romans 6; Romans 10:1-3).  Paul wrote to the Galatians about these matters as well, when he said, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live;  yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:  and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20; Cf.  Galatians 6:14;  Colossians 3:1-7).  Taking up one’s cross is an important matter.  (Matthew 16:25-26).

The passage says, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”   There are some, I am convinced, who would become disciples IF Jesus would follow them.  They may have good intentions, like Peter had, but the Lord told him, “Get thee behind me …”  (Matthew 16:21-23).

You have a choice: You can either receive Jesus as your Lord, or you can reject Him and His Word.  He said, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him:  the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.”  (John 12:48, cf. Acts 17:30-31; Revelation 20:11-15).  –PO Box 285, Crum, WV 25669.

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