Has anyone played Follow the Leader in the last week? Yeah, me neither. It’s been a while. You want to know what’s really bad? I had to look it up, just to make sure I remembered how to play. Turns out, I didn’t need to do that. You don’t need to either. I’ll sum up the depths of my research for you right here. Okay, here it goes. Ready?
You follow the leader.
That’s it. That’s the whole game. One kid does something, and the other kids do it too. I was really waiting for a plot twist. Y’know something really complex like Hopscotch or Simon Says. But no, good old Follow the Leader keeps its cookies on the bottom shelf where we can all enjoy them (even if it’s been a few decades).
If you’re around small kids a lot (or if you keep your Follow the Leader game in tip-top shape at all times) you might have noticed that it’s more than a game. It’s a way of life. Little kids love to play copycat because their whole life is imitation. That’s how they learn language, how to walk, and how to think about the world. We might look at little kids living like this and envy how simple it is. But what about us? Do we actually want to be followers?
That word “follower can make us nervous. I mean, we don’t wanna just follow blindly, right? Our world tells us that we should follow our own hearts/opinions/ideas so we don’t become “followers.” The thing is, our hearts/opinions/ideas aren’t always trustworthy. More often than not, they actually lead us right into the kind of blind following we were trying to get away from.
Following Jesus might be scary, but it’s not blind. When Jesus asked his disciples to follow him, he didn’t hide where he was headed.
If anyone would come after me
Let him deny himself, take up his cross,
And follow me.
To follow Jesus, means to deny ourselves. Following Jesus means living the way that he lived. Following Jesus means dying to our selfishness. But if you remember, Jesus’ death didn’t end in the grave, and our doesn’t either.
Now if we died with Christ,
We believe that we shall also live with Him.
If we follow Christ, if really imitate him, then whatever things he asks us to die to will end in new life. It will probably look different than anything we’re imagining (it usually is with Jesus). He is not predictable, but he is trustworthy. Whatever it is that Jesus is asking you to let go of, let go. Whatever he is asking you to walk away from, follow the sound of his voice. Whatever cross or death-to-self he is asking you to pick up, don’t hesitate. His burden light, his heart is for you, and his ways are good.
That’s one of the craziest parts of following Jesus. It doesn’t make you more blind, it brings sight to our blindness. We can see the goodness and faithfulness of God. We can see all the ways we’re falling short. We can live in a way that loves others well. Because following the God who made our minds is the road that leads a mind that is sound and self-controlled.
So how do we do that? How do we follow Jesus well. That’s the best part. It’s simple. You don’t even need to look up the rules. You just follow the Leader, Jesus himself. That’s it. That the whole road of discipleship. Jesus moves, you move. Jesus waits, you wait. That is the life he has called us to, and my friends, it’s such a joy to walk with Jesus.
Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.