Terry R. Baughman
“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23).
To follow is in itself an act of submission. It is allowing someone to take the lead in your life. It is to surrender your own will for the direction you are taking to the authority of another. Jesus calls us to follow. It can only be done when we voluntarily submit to His leadership in our lives.
We have grown accustomed to the mechanized vocal instructions of direction when we follow a GPS mapping device. “In 600 feet take a slight right turn,” the monotone voice instructs. Robotically we slow down, move to the right lane and begin watching for the specified turn as we approach. Sometimes when we fail to make a turn or cannot readily understand the directions we talk back to the device (at least I do!), or want to argue with the directions, “You can’t make a U turn here!” GPS has been known to make mistakes, leading people to dead end destinations or impossible locations. However, the devices and instructions are improving as upgrades are developed and more accurate information is fed into the system.
Jesus will never lead us astray. He has the most accurate and advanced mapping information. He has already been down the road and mapped out our route. Not only has He been there … He is there, eternally present in our future. There will be no changes in the road that catch Him off guard. There will be no detours that He has not already planned for us. We may feel that we have missed the path and been led down a dead end route, but God knows right where we are and will provide the step by step guidance to come back to the proper path. The psalmist David observed that, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). The Word of God is our best source for instruction providing a guide for safe passage through life.
Not only does Jesus know the way, … He is the way! (John 14:6). Knowing Jesus is like being a personal friend with the inventor of GPS. He knows the system. He designed the infrastructure and wrote the code. He holds the answer to the most complex route we may find ourselves taking. Following His directions will never fail to bring you through any difficult passage.
The key to successfully arriving at the correct destination is to surrender to the leadership of the One who knows the way. Since Jesus is the way we have confidence that the instructions are accurate and His directions are true.
Uniquely in Luke, after the challenge to take up the cross, there is the word, “daily.” The implication is clear. Following Jesus is more than a onetime choice, a surrender in one prayer many years ago. Submission continues to be exercised. The choice to follow is a recurring decision. Every day one must arise to follow the Savior Jesus on the road of discipleship. It is a constant call and a continual commitment.
“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24).