“As is likely to happen if I have my eyes open,” Stan commented one morning, “I saw something in a single verse of Mark’s gospel the other day that is a reflection of what happened with me when I finally came to faith.”
“Finally came to faith,” I repeated. “It took you a long time, didn’t it?”
“Sure did,” Stan replied. “Way too long, but I’m eternally grateful that God patiently waited for me!”
“So,” I said, “what’d you see that reflected something?”
“There was this child who was possessed by an evil spirit that caused all sorts of trouble with the child,” Stan replied. “And Jesus got rid of it.”
“You had an evil spirit that Jesus cast out? Is that what was reflected in what you saw?”
“Not so much that,” Stan replied. “it’s what Jesus did next.”
“It says that Jesus took the boy by the hand and raised him,” Stan said, “and the boy got up. That’s what happened with me. Jesus took me by the hand and I got up.”
“I began what’s supposed to come next after gaining the assurance of salvation,” Stan said. “I began to work out that salvation by pursuing discipleship.”
“Oh,” I replied, “you mean like the three steps of denying self, taking up what you are to take up, and following. Is that it?”
“That’s it,” Stan said. “And I think it’s to be the same for each one of us. Let Jesus take us by the hand, get up, do what we need to do, and follow Him.”
“Wherever, however, and whenever,” I commented.
“You got it, my friend,” Stan replied with a smile. “And remember the ‘whenever’ is always! Let’s be taken by His hand.”
Bible verses to consider:
But Jesus took him by the hand and raised him; and he got up. Mark 9:27.
So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:12-13.
And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Luke 9:23.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, of your provision of life eternally with you through the cross of Christ. Thank you for those people who brought me to the truth so I could have Jesus take me by the hand and lift me up. I confess that too often I do not seek to work out the salvation that you worked in. I do that because I choose to walk apart from you, rather than following you however, wherever, and whenever you intend. Please forgive the foolishness of seeking to live the life you have given me without being a disciple. Please help me to follow every step of your lead so I am only who you intend for me to be, doing what you have for me to do for you and your kingdom for as long as you keep me here. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Have you allowed Jesus to take you by the hand in the sense you know you will spend eternity in God’s presence when it’s time? If no, why? What’s in the way of accepting God’s free and gracious provision? If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing in following as a disciple? As well as you would like? As well as God would like? If you sense the need for change in your approach to discipleship and in being a disciple, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not? Let Him take you by the hand!