To Follow Thee More Nearly
As I shared in an earlier blog, my prayer for 2019 is expressed simply in this song:
Day by day, dear Lord of Thee
Three things I pray:
To see Thee more clearly,
To love Thee more dearly,
To follow Thee more nearly,
Day by day.
I have tried to expound on what these three phrases mean to me in three different blogs. If you haven’t already, please read the first two parts – ‘To see Thee more clearly’ and ‘To love Thee more dearly’. The third is –
To follow You more nearly:
The only way to be a true disciple of Christ is to follow Him.
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
(John 10:27 NIV)
Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me…. Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
(Matthew 10:38; 16:24 NIV)
I have read these verses several times over the years but recently, I started asking myself what it really meant to take up my cross especially since another verse says I’m to take it up daily. From the Amplified Version, I understand that it is really a state of preparedness and willingness to go through whatever I might face as a result of obeying Christ.
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and take up his cross [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me].
(Matthew 16:24 AMP)
I don’t want to follow from a distance. I want to be right behind the Author and Finisher of my faith, following His every step. In so doing, I am conforming to His example. As His sheep, I will listen to His voice and my desire and determination is to follow when He speaks…..to obey.
I think sometimes of people like Enoch and Abraham who, despite not being New Testament believers, walked closely with God. My heart yearns to be like them, to follow more and more nearly, such that the Lord and I are practically walking in step. It seems to me that praying for this is the first step but there is a next step, which is to accept the Lord’s yoke over my shoulders.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls.
(Matthew 11:29 AMP)
A yoke is a wooden bar or frame by which two draft animals (such as oxen) are joined at the heads or necks for working together.
When two animals are yoked together, they are forced to go in the same direction. When we are yoked to Christ and submit to His lordship, we automatically go where He goes. In a sense, we automatically follow Him. So the key is submission to His lordship.
There’s a song by Brian Courtney Wilson titled ‘I’ll just say yes’ that really says it all:
“I’ll just say yes
You lead the way
I’m not afraid of what it means for me to say
That this life You gave
Is not my own
I’m trusting You to hear my ‘yes’ and lead me on.
Yes Lord, yes Lord, my life is Yours.”
I must confess it is sometimes scary to be totally dependent on someone else, even Jesus, to take the lead in every area of my life but I find that it is the best way to live. After all, He is the Alpha and Omega and He knows all things – past, present and future. I figure He is trustworthy and so even if I don’t understand where He is going, I submit in trust and still let Him lead. I submit in trust and follow.
Will you submit in trust and follow Him (more nearly) too?