Devotional: July 23rd
Quickly a soul may be won or lost! That moment, when Philip's decision was trembling in the balance, was but a moment. It might have gone the other way, for Christ has no pressed men in His army; they are all volunteers. It might have gone the other way. A moment may settle for you whether you will be His disciple or not. People tell us that the belief in instantaneous conversions is unphilosophical; it seems to me that the objections to them are unphilosophical. All decisions are matters of an instant. Hesitation may be long, weighing and balancing may be a protracted process; but the decision is always a moment's work, a knife-edge. And there is no reason whatever why any one may not now, if they will, do as Philip did, on the spot; and when Christ says, " Follow Me," return to Him and answer, "I follow Thee whither soever Thou goest."
There is an old Church tradition which says that the disciple who, at a subsequent period, answered Christ, "Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father," was this same Apostle. I do not think that it is at all likely, but the tradition suggests to us one thought about the reasons why people are kept back from yielding this obedience to Christ's invitation. Many are kept back, as that man in the story was, because there are some other duties, and they are duties, no doubt, which you feel or make to be more important. " I will think about Christianity and about turning religious when this, that, or the other thing has got over. I have my position in life to make. I have a great many things to do that must be done at once, and really I have not time to think about it."
Then there are some that are kept from following Christ because they have never found out yet that they need a guide at all. Then there are some that are kept back because they like very much better to go their own way and to follow their own inclination, and dislike the idea of following the will of another.
There are a host of other reasons, but they are all not worth looking at. They are excuses, they are not reasons. " They all with one consent began to make excuse." Excuses, not reasons; and manufactured excuses, in order to cover a decision which has been taken before, and on other grounds altogether, which it is not convenient to bring up to the surface!
Follow Him! Trust, obey, imitate, hold fellowship with Him. You will always have a Companion, you will always have a Protector. " He that followeth Me," saith He, " shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." And if you will listen to the Shepherd's voice and follow Him, that sweet old promise will be true, in its deepest and Divinest sense about your life, in time; and your life in the moment of death, the isthmus between two worlds; and about your life in eternity. "They shall not hunger nor thirst, neither shall the sun nor heat smite them; for He that hath mercy on them shall lead them, by the springs of water shall He guide them." Follow thou Me!
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