“Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.” (John 21:22)
Beyond the truth of the matter that Peter was now walking with someone who was just dead a short while ago, it must have been difficult to come to the realization that he was walking with the Creator of the universe and that he had been told to follow Him. Awe-inspiring and humbling are the two phrases that come to mind.
I wonder if the rich young ruler that Jesus said to go and sell all you have (Mark 10:21) met the Lord after He rose from the dead, and then went and did so, I wonder if the nine lepers who did not return after they were healed (Luke 17:17) found Him after His resurrection to say thank you. I know that a lot of people claim to love the Lord, but I wonder just how many are truly following Him, how many have devoted the entirety of their lives to Him. Not many I fear, this poor writer of letters included.
That does not mean that many of us do not want to, but that the world has a hold on us in some way, shape or form, that our sinful nature, the pride, lust and desires of the flesh are not just pulling at us constantly, they are an actual part of us, we cannot rid ourselves of them. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8)
To follow Christ does not mean to be perfect, it means to be obedient, and as I have written many, many times, that means no matter the circumstances we may find ourselves in or the possible consequences that we may encounter because of that obedience that stems from our love for Him. What we need to do is not only be aware of the pitfalls but understand that we will indeed fall into them.
Is it a sin to not want to obey? I do not mean on a regular basis, but at times. Was it a sin when Jeremiah said he was going to forebear speaking of His name any longer, (Jer. 20:9) was it sinful for Gideon to doubt and seek more proof, or for Thomas to do the same?
Obeying without questioning is not in our nature, we say we trust but at times we still fear, we say we want to follow Him, but we want to know where He is leading us. How many steps of faith must we take before we stop being hesitant and begin to move forward in confidence?
I fear to say this, but I believe many who call Christ Lord are willing to follow Him, as long as He gives them at least some idea of where He is leading, as long as they agree with that place, as long as they do not sense any fear, and, as it were, they can sleep in their own bed in the evening, they will follow.
I believe that men of God called by God for His glory are perhaps the most fear-filled individuals on the planet, we cannot be wrong, we don’t really care where He is leading us to, the pitfalls and dangers are expected, but to misrepresent the Savior is a dreadful thought to us. To be sent with a message and not give that message properly, to speak one word out of line, to not make clear to those we are sent to what we have been sent to say strikes fear in our hearts. I cannot comprehend the man who has been told to follow taking that commandment lightly, to not be struck with an awe-inspiring humility that places that sense of dread within him, the possibility that he may be wrong when revealing what has been revealed to him. You must be able to answer this question for yourself, have you been asked to follow the Lord or commanded to?