“... and He found Philip. And Jesus said to him, ‘Follow me.’ Philip found Nathanael … Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.’” John 1:43, 45, 46
“Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the Light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.’” John 8:12
“I am the good shepherd; ... My sheep hear My voice and I know them, and they follow me;” John 10:11, 27
Amazingly, the invitation that Jesus gave to Philip so many years ago has also been given to us — the choice to follow the only One who freely gave His life because of His great love, grace and mercy toward us. This should be an easy choice. He has the map and plan to bring us into the life He has prepared for us. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” (Jeremiah 29:11) We can follow with confidence because we believe His Word that says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” (Psalm 32:8)
But sometimes our paths grow dark, causing fear and worry to pull us off His path into our own way. Yet, even in those times, if we call to Him, He will answer. We will hear His voice, the one who is our light and salvation, saying, “Here I am; follow me.” He goes before us to make the rough places smooth, and His glory is our rear guard. On this journey of following Him, He makes roadways through the wilderness and desert for us to travel on, but we will be refreshed rather than thirsty “because [He has] given waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to [His] chosen people.” (Isaiah 43:20) We may grow anxious and weary but “He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength.” (Psalm 23:2)
As we follow Him, we may “walk through the valley of the shadow of death,” but we must not be afraid because He is with us, to protect and comfort us. (Psalm 23:4) Renewing our minds with His Word and praying consistently help us to fix our eyes on Him, avoiding the snares and attacks of the enemy. But, if we do find ourselves in a trap or pitfall, we have the assurance that the Good Shepherd will search for us until He finds us. “I will exalt you, Lord, for you rescued me. You refused to let my enemies triumph over me.” (Psalm 30:1)
Daily, He invites us to follow Him. Will our response be the same as Philip? Will we go and ask a friend to come along? If we, like Philip, choose to follow Him and encourage our friends to join us on the journey, we will live “a rich and satisfying life” with His “goodness and unfailing love” pursuing us all our days.
Our God Hears,