I love it when people, “like me.” I get super jazzed when I see someone has liked a post I’ve put up. I love kind words of affirmation. I love knowing that I’m part of a group and that I fit in.
All of us want to be liked. No one walks around and says, “Golly, I hope no one likes me today! I hope I’m the scum of the earth and all my friends leave me!” That would be a terrible existence.
I think, however, that my pursuit of getting people to “like me,” often distracts me from the one who says, “be like me.”
And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19)
In Ancient Israel when a student asked to follow a Rabbi it was because the student wanted to be just like the Rabbi. They wanted to know what the Rabbi knew, their walk with God and understanding of Torah was so admirable that when the student asked to follow a Rabbi they were saying, “I want to be like you.”
Jesus, however, flips things upside down. He goes to the ordinary, everyday individual and says, “Follow me.” He extends the invitation. In essence, what our Lord is saying is, “I believe that YOU can be like me.”
Yes, you, with all your mess and insecurity. Jesus believes that you can be like Him. The Greek form of the word, “follow me,” connotates a leaving behind of what once was to follow with urgency after the Lord Jesus. It is not, “come follow me later.” There is a sense of expediency which says, “leave all that you have behind and come follow after me. Walk with me and I will make you more like me.”
The problem arises when I care more about what other people think than about following Jesus with reckless obedience. If I am so concerned with having others “like me.” I will not live in the fullness of the grace of God. I will leave following after Jesus for the crowds of popularity and self-advancement. If I really want to be like Him, I must set aside the praise of man.
There is so much to say about this, but I will leave you with this thought. Do you really believe that Jesus loves you that much that He believes YOU can be like Him? If so, then praise God with all your heart that He would extend such an invitation to you. Now, go and follow after Him, leave all that you have behind, set your heart upon His purposes. Do not stray from the left or the right, but understand that as you submit yourself to walking in the dust of Rabbi Jesus you sign up for a grand adventure. Perfect? No. Easy? Certainly not? Life transforming? Absolutely.
Jesus, I am in awe that you would even think that I could be like you. I desperately want to be like you. I am insecure, doubting and prideful. I want to walk so closely with you that all those things start to fade away as your grace covers me. Jesus, I want to be so bold to invite others on the journey of following you. I want to put my faith into action. In Jesus name, Amen!