Real believing and real following

Jesus said: “I am the light of the world. Whoever WATCHES me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Oh, wait a second. That’s a misquote. Of course he didn’t say that. Here’s what he actually said. “I am the light of the world. Whoever FOLLOWS me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

Have you ever been in the presence of someone who is dying and someone else tells them to “Follow the light”? Perhaps that person has heard stories of people on the verge of death seeing a light—a wonderful, warm and loving light—that they want to go toward. As encouragement, they tell their loved one to head toward it.

I’m not suggesting any of us are on the verge of death. But in Christ, we do die to our old lives—to our pride and selfishness—and discover a new identity and purpose in him.

If our faith is genuine it can’t not happen. Real believing is always followed by real following.

When Jesus originally told people he was the light of the world, I’m convinced he was leveraging the imagery from the feast of Tabernacles (see the previous devotional). The Hebrews had to follow the pillar of fire which led them through the uncertainty, darkness and danger of the night. 

It would lead the way and they would follow. If they just watched it, and just sat there, they would quite literally get left behind.

Jesus is the light who is not only to be believed in, but followed.

‘But I’m worried about the future.’ Um, so are millions of other people; follow the light.
‘But I’m so tired.’ Get some rest and follow.
‘But my financial situation is a mess.’ Get some help and follow.
‘But I’m retired.’ Irrelevant. Follow.
‘But I don’t have it all figured out yet.’ Join the club; follow the light.

Real believing is always followed by real following.


–“Following the light and pillar of fire into a dark uncertainty.” Bible study podcast on John 8:12-30. July 31, 2022. Click here.

Notice: The Up Devotional will go on pause from August 8 to 29 while I am on vacation. It will return on August 30, 2022. You can access back issues here, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Podcasts. You can also buy the latest book of devotionals called Turbulence on Amazon here

–Bible quotes are from the NIV.

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