"You need to turn around often to see who is following you. You also need to check to your right and to your left to see with whom you are walking. Often, you need to remember Whom you are really following. Too often you forget how much you are worth to Me, not only the value that I place on you personally, but the value you have because of who you are and what you are becoming in Christ.
"The only One to follow is Jesus; that you know deep in your heart. Once that is your only goal, I can place others to your right and to your left - people of maturity - so that your path will be straight and purposeful. They will not allow you to falter. You are safe with them. Hold them close; value their friendship. Work for their best interest. Mark carefully who they are and allow nothing to separate your hearts. Study the needs of those whom I have watching you. They will need to travel some of the roads that you have already traveled. Love them deeply. Forgive their immaturity. Serve them with an honest heart.
"Soon they will have others following them because of the love that you have shown. If you have no one to your left or your right, if you have no one following you, even if the path ahead of you seems clear, more than likely you are on a path to destruction. Check your heart. Check your motives. Check your spirit and the direction it is taking you. No one on the right path walks completely alone. It is too dangerous. I would not allow it.
"Stop now and see what you might have missed. Submit to someone who is producing mature, Christ-like followers, and surrounded by people of integrity. Repent of your pride. Become a listener and a follower first, so that one day you will be mature enough to lead."
I Cor. 11:1 NIV
Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
I Th 1:6-7 NIV
6) You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.
7) And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.
Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV
1) Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
2) Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who, for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, scorning the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:12-13 NLB
12) "So take a new grip with your tired hands and stand firm on your shaky legs.
13) Mark out a straight path for your feet. Then those who follow you, though they are weak and lame, will not stumble and fall but will become strong."
I have the desire to run hard after Jesus and have the honor of being surrounded by many people who are doing the same. Few of them live in the same community that I do. In fact, they are scattered all over the nation. My greatest joy is having the privilege of needing them desperately. It would be impossible to make it through a single day if my true friends were not available to counsel, encourage, caution, and convict.
They love me enough to never fear warning me of dangers and traps that I may encounter. They are so faithful that I can show them my vulnerable underbelly. I can be transparent in their presence, knowing that they will love me even when I fail miserably or appear foolish. They are eternal friends and holy alliances placed in my life by the Lord. I am absolutely free to follow after Him, in front of them, because of their honest hearts.
I also have the honor of having people need who I have become and what I have learned, so that they might grow strong. That is not a boast, but a proper flow of life established by Jesus. It is a responsibility that I do not take lightly. One day I will answer to my Lord about how well I carried His banner before them. One day, each of them will do the same.
Needing each other and helping each other is our Father's way. To function any other way is a formula for failure.
Needing others and being needed as led by my Lord,