When Jesus approached two fishermen with a life-changing call, they embraced the call wholeheartedly. To these men, following Jesus meant a complete change of identity and purpose. Jesus gives the same invitation Him today.
Where this command is found:
And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
The command to Follow Me is not an idea or a suggestion. Rather, it is an imperative call that must be followed by choice. This choice must be made by every person, and it will determine the course of his or her life. While the words of Jesus in Matthew 4:19 are a command, they are also an invitation to live the abundant life of Jesus. Christ’s life fills every area of our lives as we fully surrender to His lordship and follow Him wholeheartedly.
In this command, Jesus was calling His disciples to exchange their identity as fishers of fish to become fishers of men. Similarly, when we choose to follow Christ, He replaces our old identity with a new identity in Him. As we live in the reality of this new identity, He empowers us to live the Christian life by His Spirit dwelling in us.
The key to living a fulfilled life in the Lord and walking as fishers of men is first being filled with His Life. As a result, Christ’s Life within us blesses and ministers to those around us. The more Christ increases in our lives, the more we can invest in the lives of others for eternity, walking as fishers of men.
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Following Jesus is about getting to know and listening to His voice. Listening takes time — and it competes with the many noises and distractions of a busy life. But if we take the time to still our hearts and listen to God’s voice, we will learn to trust Him and follow where He leads.
Are we willing to follow Jesus wherever He leads? Or do we say that we trust Him while we reserve the right to make our own decisions? Following Jesus means trusting Christ to determine the direction of our lives, even when it doesn’t make sense.
Just as sheep will only follow one shepherd, believers in Christ can only follow one Lord. It's easy to think we are following Jesus when, in reality, many other things compete with following Him. These can include relationships, possessions, or even ministry.