My little grandson looked up at me and declared, “Pappy, I’m going to follow you wherever you go!” Wow! I thought does he mean room to room or anywhere? I know I’m not nearly as tall as he thinks I am. Where will I lead him? Should I attempt to lead him in the way of Christ? Do I always go the way of Christ? That way is narrow and difficult. You have to swim upstream. You have to walk into the wind. Maybe we should settle for room to room.
When I take him outside, he will enter a culture that calls evil good and good evil. It makes dark light and light dark. Puts bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. (Isa. 5:20) At least, the Bible describes it that way. I could play it safe and teach him to acquiesce to the cultural norms. Then he can spend his life walking downhill. He can float downstream with the crowd. It may seem like the right way, but is it? Again, the Bible says no, it ends in death.
Who I want to follow is the biblical Jesus. Hopefully, my little sidekick will tag along and then pursue the same. The Jesus of the Bible died for our sin, was buried and rose the third day having finished the work of justification on our behalf. That is the Gospel, the good news. “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 6:23)
Speaking of a gift, I once gave a coworker a gift of two pairs of socks. They had the fish and cross symbols on them. He handed them back informing me he would not wear them. The socks were his, bought and paid for, but he refused to accept the gift. God allows people to do the same with the much greater gift He purchased for them. Who is then responsible for their end?
Another actuality I want my grandson to learn concerns the wondrous things of God’s love, grace and mercy. God loves us. We’re good with that. Even our culture is down with “God is love.” (1 John 4:16) Grace is His unmerited favor given to us; His goodness we do not deserve. Mercy is His withholding what we do deserve which is instantaneous judgment. We like those as well. But here is the rub: God’s love, grace and mercy are never, not ever, divorced from God’s Truth. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” (Gal 6:7) We can not jump over, crawl under, dodge around nor declare ambiguity in regards to His truth. “Thy Word is truth,” Jesus said that. (John 17:17)
I hope to impart to the little follower these things: We are not to sideline God’s truth in our interactions with the world, and at the same time we are not to neglect loving other people, and generously giving grace and mercy to them as well. We miss that a lot of the time.The Father did not send the Son to condemn the world and neither should we. We tend to do that also. For God so loved He sent His Son. And now He sends His Son through us. Love your brethren. Love your neighbors. Love your enemies. Hands raised to God and hands extended to others. “Love God, Love man” – the Bible in four words. Yes, but we can’t do that; only Christ in us can do these things through us. We need a whole lot more Jesus and a whole lot less us. Right?
The man of the world follows after his own reflection and ends in destruction. The man of God says, “Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all day.” (Psalm 25:5)
Who do you follow?