“Take up thy cross and follow Me,” I heard my Master say;
“I gave My life to ransom thee, Surrender your all today.”
Refrain: Wherever He leads I’ll go, Wherever He leads I’ll go,
I’ll follow my Christ who loves me so, Wherever He leads I’ll go.
He drew me closer to His side, I sought His will to know,
And in that will I now abide, Wherever He leads I’ll go. [Refrain
It may be through the shadows dim, Or o’er the stormy sea,
I take my cross and follow Him, Wherever He leadeth me. [Refrain]
My heart, my life, my all I bring to Christ who loves me so;
He is my Master, Lord, and King, Wherever He leads I’ll go, [Refrain]
Do you sometimes feel that you wander in your Christian walk? Do you ever struggle with Jesus’ command, “deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Me.” It is often hard for us to be consistent in following Jesus daily…following Him completely.
The writer of this hymn, B.B. McKinney, found out that a dear friend, struggling with failing health, would not be able to return to missionary work in Brazil. This grieved McKinney. He asked his friend, “What will you do?” The reply was remarkable. “Wherever He leads, I’ll go.” The hymn writer was so touched and challenged that he wrote this hymn that same day and sang it that evening to his friend!
These current days seem dark and long. A virus abounds worldwide. What is the Christian to do?
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wants to follow after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25)
The answer? Follow Jesus! Wherever He leads!
Jesus’ invitation to follow (24a). Jesus had just broken the bad news to His disciples. He was headed to Jerusalem to be killed. They had already left everything behind and now this! Yet Jesus invited them to come. Moreover, He invites us today to follow Him. Are you trying to follow your own path or Jesus’ path? Ponder verse one of the hymn and the refrain. Meditate on the words “surrender” and “wherever.”
Jesus’ instructions for following (24b-c). Deny means “to wholly separate oneself from something; to disown.” Jesus is clear; we are to take self off the throne of our life and put Jesus there. How are we doing? Maybe you feel like your church attendance or meeting together has been removed from you (and it has, for a season). How do you respond? Are you selfish or are you focusing on following Jesus? Take up means “to bear or carry.” Self must die. Too many of us want the benefits of following Jesus but not the burdens of following Jesus. Look at verse three. Ponder “shadows dim” and “stormy sea”.
Our inspiration for following (25). What a fascinating verse! It flies in the face of human reason. We are to give up what we cannot keep to gain what we cannot lose. These words spoken to Jesus’ disciples were full of meaning in light of His pronouncement of His impending death. We should be inspired by Jesus’ words. And as we follow Him, we inspire others to follow Him!
So how are you doing? Who is on the throne of your life today? Let us surrender our lives to Jesus!
Notice the progression of the hymn lyric: It starts with Jesus’ invitation to us. It shows His work and will in our lives as we follow. It reminds us of difficult days. It challenges us to make sure Jesus is Lord of our lives. And, all the while, we are challenged with, “Wherever He leads, I’ll go.”
Let’s go! Are you ready?
Lamar Morin serves as the team leader of the Leadership Development Team of the Baptist Convention of New Mexico. Special thanks goes to pastor Jack Andrews for the outline.