“Follow me.” (Luke 5:27)

These two words changed every­thing for Levi, for Simon and Andrew, for Philip, for unnamed disciples—and for us. Jesus is not pleading or begging. He is inviting, earnestly and lovingly. Follow him, who is the way, the truth, and the life. Follow him, who is the light in the darkness, the spring of water that never fails, the One who promises to guide you always.

Follow me. Not because you’re par­ticularly good or talented or holy. According to Jewish law, Levi was “impure” because of his association with Gentiles. He was also proba­bly dishonest and greedy. Peter was impulsive, hotheaded, and stub­born. James and John wanted places of honor. All of the disciples had issues, but Jesus called them just the same—just as he is calling you.

Follow me. For those who respond, the glory of those two words is summed up in Peter’s first letter: Once you were no people, and you had not received mercy. But now you are God’s people, and you have received mercy. Once you were in darkness, and now you are in God’s wonderful light. You are chosen, royal, holy, a people belonging to God himself (1 Peter 2:9-10). That is who you are. That is how your heav­enly Father sees you.

Follow me. It’s true, you may not start out as an ideal disciple, but as you follow, your heart will begin to change. What you are now isn’t an obstacle to what you can become— not to the Lord. He has had a vision for your life from the moment you were conceived. And that vision is one of blessing, not of curse. It’s a vision of fullness, not emptiness. It’s a vision in which every part of your personality—all of your talents, your character traits, and even your unique quirks—is filled with his life and is used to build his kingdom.

We all know that following Jesus has its ups and downs. But no mat­ter what challenges we may face, we can always face them knowing that we belong to Jesus, and that he will never abandon us. For not only are we following Jesus; he is leading us, always calling us to his side with words of love and peace.

“Yes, Jesus! I will follow you. I want to walk in your light every day of my life. I trust that you will bring to fulfillment all of your great and gracious plans for my life.”

Isaiah 58:9-14; Psalm 86:1-6