“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” Mt. 16:24
“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.” Ephesians 5:1-2
“Follow the Father! Follow the Father! Follow the Father!” I found myself saying emphatically, vehemently, passionately one time to a dear sister in the Lord as I encouraged her. The words and vehemence were not mine, but were His Spirit’s. Within a day, He reminded me of this.
The Lord Jesus Christ who is God almighty in the flesh said anyone who wants to come after Him, to be in His fellowship forever, needs to deny himself, take up His cross, and what? Follow Him! An everlasting relationship with the Lord is for those who repent and turn away from this world’s ways and turn to God and His ways instead by trusting in Christ as Lord and living their lives accordingly. The Greek word translated into “follow” in the first verse above is Akolouthéō, which per Strong’s concordance also means “in the same with” or to “accompany”. Christ calls His followers to be in His company. His fellowship. In relationship with Him. To be with Him. Learn of Him, and from Him. Grow like Him. Be intimately involved with Him. Seek Him. Adore Him. To cleave to Him, we as His children and servants, to Him our Father and Lord.
The second verse above reveals a beautiful truth of God’s Word. God through the apostle Paul in His letter to the Ephesians tells believers in the Lord to be His “followers”. This time, “follower” comes from the Greek word Mimētēs which per Strong’s concordance also includes the word “imitator.” The Lord wants us to follow and imitate Him. To imitate Him. Become like Him. Loving, kind, gracious, giving, sacrificing, generous, compassionate, merciful, patient, humble, a servant, etc.
See the connection between the words? When we live in Christ’s company, spending time with Him in God’s Word, praying, seeking, hearing, loving, praising, worshiping, adoring, honoring Him, striving to please Him and bring Him joy, learning from Him and being changed by Him, enjoying Him as Savior, Lord, King, and friend, drawing ever nearer to Him, we have intimacy with Him whereby He by His Spirit makes us more like Him. We learn to imitate our Father. He wants us in His company, to accompany Him, that we humbly bow down before Him, exalt Him, call Him Lord and live as such, and grow in His glorious image and in everlasting relationship with Him. The more we cling to Him, and follow Him, the more we leave behind our self-centered desires, becoming more like Him, our beloved Savior forever King! Follow the Father!