Who are You Following?
Yesterday my family went on a hike to Auger Falls in the Adirondacks. Our friend had recommended the trek because even though there has been a lot of snow in this part of the world, the path to the falls was well travelled and the snow was packed down. This was absolutely true, but we didn’t find this well-packed foot trail until the return trip. We blazed our own trail to the falls through mounds of snow. We quickly discovered that we needed Dad to lead, so that we could follow in his footsteps.
It was a rough, but beautiful journey. At one point, I sunk into the snow all the way up to my waist and my foot could not even feel the bottom. You can imagine how challenging this was for our short legged family members! But my husband’s footsteps were sure and steady. Following him made it easier on the rest of us. The river and the falls in winter was worth the trip! It was breathtaking and I could not stop smiling. Following the foot trail back to our van was as easy as my friend suggested. We laughed at ourselves! Of course we would take the path less travelled!
As we walked along, I thought about how important it is to follow the right person. At different times, my boys would decide that a different path was a better option and they would forge their own way. But they would quickly return to following their Dad. It is much easier to follow someone else through deep snow than it is to try it on your own.
In our lives, there are many paths and people that we can follow. Sometimes we don’t know until retrospect whether or not we made a wise choice. But I would suggest to you that we are all on our own journey. This means that our paths and our experiences are all supposed to look different. It is appropriate to follow others whom we trust. However, it is extremely important that we do not look to any human to follow blindly. No person is perfect. We must weigh their words and their leadership against Truth.
As followers of Christ, we can know that we are following the right path, because Jesus is Truth. But we can only know that we are truly following Him when we are seeking to know Him more. In John 10:27-30, Jesus said this:
27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” (NIV)
Are you listening to the voice of your Shepherd? It is appropriate to follow others as they follow Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1), but we must make sure that they are not asking us to follow them, but that they are always pointing us to the Way, to Jesus. If a leader is doing anything that is contrary to scripture, be careful in following their steps. If a leader is quick to point out the shortcomings of others, but slow to acknowledge any faults or wrongdoing in themselves, be wary.
Our God is the only Wise judge. His love is unwavering towards his sheep. He loves them and beckons them to follow.
So who are you following?