Remember the old Follow the Leader game we used to play as kids? We never knew what to expect. The leader might have taken us through water, thorn-ridden paths, or even danger. Rules stated that we had to follow—or else. We are blessed that God faithfully leads us with love and care. He wants only the best for us. We can’t go wrong when we choose Him for our leader.
ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES by Sally Bair
Following the leader
On my walk one morning several years ago, I was surprised to see a pack of five or six wolves. They loped along the edge of a nearby field single file before the leader led them into the woods.
A pack’s lead wolf, called the Alpha male, always calls the shots. Being the biggest and strongest, he protects the others, sees that they’re fed, and dominates their social actions. And he tolerates no usurping of his authority. The others must deny themselves that role for the good of the pack. Heaven help any other wolf that tries to steal the Alpha male’s leadership role.
Those who decide to follow Christ also must be willing to put themselves under His authority—spiritual authority. To follow means to pursue, to go after—as Jesus’ disciples did when He called them to follow him.
“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Mark 8:34)
Denial of self can mean many things. What is it we desire most in life? Fun and fellowship? Intellectual pursuits? Acceptance and popularity? Power and status? The security of money? God wants to be first in our lives. He would have us be willing to give up whatever we believe we can’t live without. We are to hold lightly to the things in this world for His sake.
When we pursue—follow after—something such as an education or a new car or a promotion or … (fill in the blank) …, we willingly put our lives on hold and go after our dream fervently. When we decide to pursue Christ, as His disciples did, we become willing to put our earthly desires on hold and go after the Lord with our whole heart and soul. Like the pack of wolves, we will follow our Leader, Jesus Christ, wanting to serve Him so fervently that we will deny all else in our lives. Then we will become true disciples.
Lord, you said, “Follow me.” Give us the will and strength to deny ourselves and follow You today. Thank you for the promise that in denying self we receive, like the wolf, protection and sustenance and help. Thank You also for so much more—your peace, joy, love, righteousness, and desire to serve others. Thank You for sending your Son, Jesus, who denied all so that we might have eternal life. In His name, amen.