“I have decided to follow Jesus – no turning back”
One of the songs often sung back in my teenage years was “I have decided to follow Jesus”. It was sung in evangelistic rallies as part of the appeal to get people to decide to follow Jesus and it played a part in my own conversion. The lyric and tune have been recently whirling around in my head (see here).
According to Wikipedia: ““I Have Decided to Follow Jesus” is a Christian hymn that originated in Assam, India. According to P. Job, the lyrics are based on the last words of Nokseng, a Garo man, a tribe from Meghalaya which then was in Assam, who converted to Christianity in the middle of the 19th century through the efforts of an American Baptist missionary. He is said to have recited verses from the twelfth chapter of the book of John as he and his family were killed. The formation of the martyr’s words into a hymn has been attributed to the Indian missionary Sadhu Sundar Singh. An alternative tradition attributes the hymn to pastor Simon K Marak from Jorhat, Assam.”
Just prior to considering these words, I was feeling despondency, despair and depression, not just because of what was going on around me (a lot of which I can do little about), but there was a lot going on (or not) inside me, which I can do something about. The thought of what this dear man who had come to a life transforming faith did, having aroused so much hostility from within his own community, was inspirational, and he did so knowing he would pay the ultimate price, and in doing so he took the words of Jesus, as recorded in John 12, to their logical conclusion.
Following Jesus comes at a cost if we to do wholeheartedly (and many don’t), evidenced by suffering and even death by those Christians living in countries where there is outright persecution, as detailed in the daily reports by the Barnabas Fund, for example. Even in my country, there is persecution, often done subtly and appealing to reasonableness, but felt deeply by those affected, as detailed in the daily reports by the Christian Institute and Christian Concern, for example. One of the issues that led to my 3 D’s, although I may well be in a small minority among Christians, is seeing the world run by an evil cabal, incensed they are allowed to do so, who are often patronisingly dismissed by fellow believers when having the temerity to say so. Other Christians, including the leaders, go along with it, ready to roll over, evidenced for example by a report where certain evangelical colleges approvingly assist in the roll out of Covid-19 “vaccines” (that I truly believe is part of an evil agenda to depopulate and enslave humanity) while many countries move toward making harmful jabs mandatory on the populace, and good people, like Canadian Pastor, Artur Pawlowski, imprisoned for standing up against this unconstitutional medical tyranny.
I sense in this crazy world in which we live, when people call good evil and evil are good, evil doers appear to prevail, and people realise things are not what they seem. More and more, including among the least likely, people are waking up to the fact that something is remiss and are turning to God. As for God’s people who are going through the mill, we are there to point them in the right direction. We are where we are and Jesus warned us concerning the cost of following him, so may it be that like that dear man in Assam that cost him his life and his family’s life we say: “I have decided to follow Jesus … though none go with me, I still will follow … the world behind me, the cross before me … no turning back, no turning back”.