Follow Me, by Jessica Howell

There’s a phrase that has been in my mind and heart the past several months, and it is simply, “Follow me.” Two simple words, but they stir so much within my soul. It brings the beauty of possibility, hope, expectation, and right alongside these thoughts and feelings creep in uncertainty, questioning, and even fear.

When Jesus called his first disciples ‘disciples’, he gave them a simple invitation: “Follow me.” He gave them very little explanation, and he didn’t give them all the details up front. Doesn’t he often do the same thing with us? He gives us an invitation, and awaits our response. Why does he do this? Pastor Bob said something recently that I think goes straight to the crux of the matter. He said, “Jesus wants our security to be in Him and not in the plan.”

That hits home. I love well laid-out plans, steps, and programs. There is very little that bothers me more than something feeling uncertain, or without a clear plan. One reason I enjoy plans is because a clear plan helps to eliminate fear and anxiety in the process for me. Yet this kind of security is temporal because as soon as a piece of the plan fails, my security can begin to crumble. Security that is rooted in Jesus is not temporal. His character is steadfast. Jesus, the perfect image of the Father (Col. 1:15, Heb. 1:5) is unchanging—always good, faithful, and true (Jam. 1:7, Heb. 6:18, Psa. 119:90). Therefore, when my security is in Him, it doesn’t matter if is things around me feel uncertain. I can be safe and secure in Him.

Recently, I read over the accounts of Jesus inviting the first disciples to follow him in the gospels of Luke and Matthew (Lk. 5:1-11, Matt. 4:18-22), and I was struck by a few things, particularly in the expanded account in Luke. In Luke’s account, as the crowd was pressing in on Him, Jesus actually climbed aboard Simon Peter’s boat to teach the crowds, and afterwards tells Peter to let down his nets for a catch in the deep water. Although they caught nothing at all during the night, Peter did as Jesus asked and caught so many fish that the nets began to break and their boats began to sink with the weight of the fish. Following this Jesus tells them not to fear for from now on, they will be catching men. The account in Matthew records Jesus giving the invitation, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

I read this, finding so many parallels to my own life. Jesus gave these men an invitation and a promise, and if we’re honest, it was a promise that probably made very little sense to them at the time. Yet that promise was greater than anything they could have imagined. How many times has God given me a promise that seemed odd, confusing, or outright impossible, until the pieces began to come together and I began to see the big picture of what He was doing? More than I can count! Until those pieces came together, I just had to trust Him and have faith in His promise. Yet just with like those men, Jesus has already shown me that He is trustworthy and He is able. When He asks me to do something, and I choose to trust Him and obey, He follows through on His promise. Over and over, Jesus has proven that He is trustworthy.

When He gives us such as invitation, it takes trust to say yes — trust in His promises, in His character, in His love and in His good plan. I have to trust myself as well — we have to choose to trust in our ability to hear, to follow, to obey, to carry out the work He has called me to, to walk in confidence and authority as a daughter. The good news that we don’t have to do those things on our own — it’s not by our own ability, but by the Spirit of God working in us and through us. Holy Spirit is faithful to lead, and to continue the work that He started in us (Phil. 1:6, 1 Thess. 5:24).

He reminds me faithfully, “You don’t have to be afraid. We’re in this together; we’re moving forward together. You won’t miss me. I’m close.” And He extends the same invitation to you, to come close, to join Him on the journey of what He wants to do in your life and your heart—to step into the immeasurably more that is life by His Spirit, stepping into that which you once deemed impossible.

A few ponderings on trusting the Lord in the process:

  • Trusting doesn’t mean that we never experience negative feelings in the process.

  • Trusting doesn’t mean that we’re not allowed to ask questions, but it does mean that even if He doesn’t answer the question the way we want or when we want, that we know that His heart for us is good and His plans are good and He’s trustworthy.

  • Trusting does mean we don’t allow fear and worry to get us off track from what the Lord has spoken.

  • Trusting does mean that I choose to place my security in Jesus instead of finding my security in the plan—whether there is a plan in place or not, my security is in Him.

What do you think? What might we add to this list? I’d love to hear your feedback on trust, and how God is moving in your own story of trusting Him along the journey!