This past week has been one of exceptional spiritual dryness for me. I had no desire to be in communion with God. I had no desire to do anything but veg out. When Jaynie told me no one had signed up to speak and asked me to do the message, I felt entirely disinclined to do it, and even felt as though I would be hypocritical in doing it. This was a false sense of shame at my spiritual state; an excuse to avoid doing what I could feel God was calling me to do. Even though I was running from God this week, I could still feel Him calling to me.
Today, He reached me. I’m not sure if it was through the prayers of others, but He certainly made Himself known to me today. He got to me through the meditation of Scripture. He got to me through His Son Jesus Christ, who in His life of humility said two simple words: follow me. As one who believes in Jesus and the words He said, I need to act on them. I need to follow Him.
Follow Me, says the One who chose to live a life of humility. Follow Me, says the One who followed the will of His Father to death. Follow Me, says the One who claimed divinity. Follow Me, said the carpenter from Nazareth. Follow Me, said the One crucified for blasphemy against the One True God.
Follow Me, He said to Peter and Andrew; they did. Follow Me, he said to Matthew and Philip; they did. Abandon your own desires, and follow Me. Follow Me; follow My obedience to the Father, and my insatiable desire for Him.
These two simple words caused Peter, Andrew, Matthew and Philip to abandon the life they knew and embrace a new one. They followed Him wherever He went. They absorbed His teachings, observed His life, and did what He told them to do.
Has this command changed in the last 2000 years? Has He come to expect a different response from us than He did from His disciples in the last two millennia? No, the call is unchanged, and He expects the same response from us who believe in Him.
How does this response translate to us today? Obviously, we cannot go where He goes, since He no longer walks the earth. We are to follow the example of His life. His drive was to do the will of the Father; indeed, He had a thirst to be in communion with His Father. So, it should be with us. My desire to avoid the Father this week was sin. I was not following Jesus in this.
Follow Me. Does this mean that we all have to sacrifice our lives on the cross? Does this mean that all of us are being called to do big, extravagant things for God; that He is going to use all of us to reach thousands of people? These questions arise from our tendency to focus solely on the death and resurrection of Christ. We forget the countless times we are told that He withdrew to the mountains to pray; or the times of fasting; or the times of simply having fellowship with His disciples. Jesus did not just do the will of His Father in extravagant, grandiose ways. He did His Father’s will in every detail of His life.
“The thing readiest to be done, those which lie, not at the door, but on the very table, of a man’s mind, are not merely in general the most neglected, but even by the thoughtful man, the oftenest let alone, the oftenest postponed… Truth is one, and he who does the truth in the small thing is of the truth; he who will do it only in a great thing, who postpones the small thing near him to the great farther from him, is not of the truth.”
– Mac Donald
When Christ called His disciples, He did not call them only during the times of miracles and points of major impact, He called them to follow in the quiet times as well. We are not called to do major things for God. “Do you desire great things for yourself? Do not desire them?” We are called to follow Christ, through the small things of life. I avoided heeding His call this week. I feel there were times when doing the dishes, or praying at a certain time, reading at a certain time, were His call for my life. I didn’t follow Him, and so my life had no hint of the things I believe, the things at my core.
Follow Me. Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Me. Get over yourself, because you are not important. The will of my Father is important, so follow Me.