If you received an invitation to an adventure that promised to change you forever, would you accept? This adventure would call to action your reserve of inner strength, virtue, and beauty you didn’t know existed. On this journey you become knit, soul to soul, with your teammates, and in the process, become a warrior—strong, fierce, with a beautiful soul. How would you answer?
Jesus issued a similar invitation to His first disciples in John 1:35-51.
He called anyone willing to follow.
He chose anyone who answered His call to the deepest longings of their souls.
Within all of us, deep rumblings of heart tell of our unspoken longings to be seen, heard, and known. We yearn to belong, and to be a valued member of a team of world-changers. This yearning softly cries, sighs deeply, and sometimes screams in frustration, but all longings are satisfied in Jesus.
So it was for those first followers.
The Ancient of Days invited a band of ordinary men on an extraordinary journey,
and the world has never since been the same.
He called those in pursuit of truth.
John, Andrew and Nathanael were “all in” once they saw the True Light.
Others, were simply doing the work that life requires when they were called.
A small-business man, a dishonest taxman, a skeptic, a political zealot, even a betrayer.
As each man’s soul heard the call toward deep, everlasting life, he rose and followed,
finding in Jesus the balm for the groaning within.
Simon needed a new identity.
Others called him “vacillating one”, Jesus called him “rock”, stable, and strong.
Nathanael desired to be seen and known.
Jesus said, I saw you before you saw Me. I sought you before you sought Me.
I am the One you’ve been seeking all your life. I am the One your soul has longed for.
Within each ordinary man, He saw strength, potential, and beauty.
He does the same for each of us, extending in the same invitation to us as He did to them.
Come, follow me.
Walk with me.
Let me change you from the inside out, and in the process, change the world.
He searches only for willing feet and teachable hearts, ready to surrender.
He invites us to be wholly healed in our inner hearts, as He gives courage to slay the beasts that have long-plagued our souls. We delve into Scripture and find Him there, His Words, His Light, His hope.
With piercing eyes, He points to the writhing beast, the enemy of our hearts, beckoning us to use the blade He provides to slay the dragon with the blade of truth. Battle by battle, slain beast after gored dragon, we gain victory and strength as we find solace in Him alone. Our souls find healing, vitality and strength, becoming who we were always meant to be as our deepest longings are met in Him.
With Jesus, we are seen and known, as Nathanael was.
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. . .
All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born, I set you apart. . . “
With Jesus, we are given purpose and world-changing tasks like Peter.
The “fire in our bones” is set ablaze as we too, illuminate the darkness as Christ did through those early, ordinary men.
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
“. . .His word is in my heart like fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.” Jeremiah 20:9-11
“”I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you a hope and a future.”” Jeremiah 29:11
As we answer His call to follow, we will find love deeper than imagined, be challenged more than we like, yet in the process, become stronger than we dreamed. One day, we will catch a glimpse of ourselves reflected in His eyes and see a battle-tested warrior looking back.
Strong and valiant with a gentle, beautiful soul.
This is discipleship:
following the Master,
ingesting His word,
conversing in prayer,
and following the lead of His Spirit within,
forsaking all that does not resemble Him,
pressing ever closer to Him to hear His heartbeat,
to know the warmth of His breath on our face,
and the voice that echoes in the stillness of a quiet soul.
The Master extends His invitation to each of us.
Walk with me.
Come with me on a journey that will change you forever.
It will challenge you more than you desire, require more life-change than is comfortable,
but in the process, you will become knit, soul to soul, with your fellow travelers.
Become who you were always meant to be – strong and fierce, with a gentle and beautiful soul.
How will you respond?