Follow Me: A Promise Is a Promise!

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A Promise Is a Promise!

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Follow Me: A Promise Is a Promise!

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There’s a story about an old Scottish woman who traveled around the countryside selling housewares. Whenever she came to a fork in the road, she would throw a straw in the air, and when it dropped to the ground she would proceed in the direction it indicated.

The residents of the area knew her strange custom, but one day a friend saw her tossing the straw several times before choosing a path. He inquired, “Why do you do that more than once?” “Oh,” she replied, “it kept pointing to the road on the left, and I wanted to go the other way because it appeared smoother.” She proceeded to toss the straw to the wind until she got the direction she wanted. 

Exactly what did Christ promise would come? Are His promises really better than our human premises of straw?

Let’s all recognize that Scots and women are not alone in exercising such techniques. We all too often do our own mental form of tossing straw to guide our decisions with matters far more serious than selling housewares. Yes, even Christians get stuck when confronted with our personal forks in the road and humanly seek that smoother path.

“I will come to you”

What does this mean for us? In extending His invitation of “Follow Me,” Jesus Christ boldly proclaimed, “I am the Way” (John 14:6, emphasis added throughout). And He is the singular Way at that!

In so doing, He made specific promises to inform and encourage those sincerely following Him: “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper . . . the Spirit of Truth . . . I will not leave you orphans: I will come to you (John 14:16-18).

But a condition for us is that we must be willing to let go of our self-made bundle of security straws.

Humanly, therein lies the challenge. Any reading of Scripture informs us about Jesus Christ’s invitation to those seeking after Him. He plainly stated in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12) that we could be incredibly happy without the trappings of happiness. We can be fearless even when our knees are shaking and we live in constant trouble in a world that relies on wind and straw rather than eternal truths.

What do I mean? Let’s consider for a moment:

In one day, the disciples went from experiencing a vision of Christ transfigured in glory to not being able to battle the demons down here below (Matthew 17:1-21).

Within 24 hours, Christ went from precious moments of washing others’ feet to having His hands nailed to a wooden beam.

The joy of Pentecost that year was short-lived as apostles were jailed and Stephen, one of the first deacons in the Church, was martyred.

The road is not always smooth, but we must keep in mind the destination and realize that it’s worth every step to get there.

Exactly what did Christ promise would come? Are His promises really better than our human premises of straw?

Multiple promises given by Christ

To people of Christ’s day, the Spirit of God was perhaps considered by some as awesome yet impersonal and involved in the lives of select people for certain periods of time.

Yet Christ, the Word and voice of God on earth, declared incredible aspects of a new relationship with the many and not just the few.

Jesus stated:

• The Spirit would be with us forever (John 14:16) and not merely temporarily.

• It would be given to those whom the Father called and who responded to that selection and not given to the world at large at this time (John 14:17).

• It would not come and go as before, but would—notice—live with us and even in us (John 14:17).

• While not a person as many claim (see our free study guide Is God a Trinity?) the Spirit would have qualities that literally could teach us, guide us and remind us of Christ’s words (John 14:26).

• It would convince (convict) us of sin, show us God’s righteousness, and even declare God’s judgment regarding evil (John 16:8).

• It would even guide us and grant us insight towards future happenings—and all to give due glory to the One sent by our Heavenly Father (John 16:13-14).

With this all promised, when Pentecost came that year the disciples were praying and obedient but, perhaps equally important, they were expectant and believed Christ’s promises (Acts 1:12-14).

But why? They had spent much time with the Son of God who was filled with the Spirit of God—Jesus of Nazareth. They had witnessed that the Word was made flesh and dwelt among them and that the Spirit descended from heaven and rested on Him (John 1:14; John 1:32).

They had real-life experience with this One who was full of the Spirit (Luke 4:1), who avoided sin in the wilderness, where He exercised the wisdom of God in remembering and declaring Scripture to avoid evil and remain righteous and give God glory in stating, “For it is written, you shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve” (Matthew 4:10).

It was He who was the embodiment of the messianic prophecy that “the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord” (Isaiah 11:2).

Again, they did not know what was to come, but they knew they had to use the promised Spirit fully—to rely on it and be guided by God through it in all of life’s challenges.

Promises you can trust

They came to fully grasp and understand that their Master and Lord, the Christ, and His Father would fulfill what was promised and would come to dwell in them by the Holy Spirit—it being the Spirit of the Father and Christ, both of whom are Holy and Spirit (Leviticus 11:44; 1 Peter 1:16; John 4:24).

The apostle Paul makes this incredible truth extremely plain in Romans 8:9: “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.” It is the same Spirit, the one Spirit that makes us all one (Ephesians 4:4; Hebrews 2:10-11).

The Holy Spirit is not simply a spiritual bulldozer, hammer, or screwdriver to reach for, but is literally the indwelling essence of God the Father and Christ in us through which we can live a daily life of worship, glorify Them in all we do, and be a blessing to others.

As the apostle Paul came to confess and understand: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20, King James Version).

There truly is a difference between walking with Christ and allowing Him to walk in us and draw on His Spirit. Just ask the disciples who had the experience of walking with Jesus Christ during His ministry, followed by His death and resurrection before that eventful Pentecost. Talk about a before-and-after snapshot comparison of hearts and minds!

It’s the same faithful Spirit that enabled Jesus in the flesh to seek God’s will and not His own in every thought, word and deed even when smoother roads lay in front of Him. Christ never twirled a piece of straw hoping for a different path other than the one the Father set before Him. He believed God and did what He said.

When we truly grasp and believe Jesus Christ meant what He said and keeps His promises, it doesn’t mean that life necessarily becomes humanly easier. But it becomes eternally rewarding, as we come to the forks in the roads of our life’s journey and toss our self-made straw aside.

For we have chosen to exist beyond the moment, and we thank our Heavenly Father every day that we not only believe in His Son, but know that He exists within us and within all those who have heeded the call of “Follow Me.”

Now it’s time to walk in the Spirit by faith as He did!