Last Sunday during worship we sang the classic hymn–I Have Decided to Follow Jesus, and it sparked a conversation between my wife and me about how we are able to follow Jesus. The song is a great declaration of committment. The story behind the song grabs your soul and holds it. Yet, to those who do not know the love of Jesus, who do not understand the Gospel, they may see this song as s a silly, trite Christian tune lacking depth and reasoning with the sole purpose of stirring emotions. To the unbelieving world the depth of this confession of committment is similar to choosing to follow a sport’s team. Meaning, it is just a personal choice that I’ve made at the moment. Honestly, I don’t expect anything different, after all it is only because of the Spirit of God that I want to follow Jesus. Without the Spirit of Christ within, this would be nonsense.
Those who know their Savior and know the Scriptures, this declaration to follow Jesus Christ is a work that was begun in them by the One whom they follow. They declare and follow because He started it all. He has effectually called each of us, and we have responded. As Romans 9 rhetorically asks, Who can resist His will?
The peace and joy that comes from knowing that the work of redemption is within me, within each child of God, originates from God. His work of salvation begins with Him and He has promised to complete the work within me.
Philippians 1:6 being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Recognizing that God is First–the Great Initiator:
Because He chose me, I chose Him.
Because He called me with an effectual call, I responded and follow Him.
Because He gave me faith to believe, I believe.
Because He humbled me and showed me my sin in light of His holiness and His Law, I was given a sorrowful soul and repented.
Because He drew me to Himself by His Spirit, I turned to Him.
Because He opened my eyes, I see Him.
Because He forgave me even before I wanted to be forgiven, I am forgiven.
Because He loved me, even though I did not love Him, I am able to love Him.
Romans 5:6-11 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Romans 8:29-30 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Thank You, God. Forever I will offer praise. Amen.