Kill Off The Others

My grandfather’s favorite hymn was I Have Decided to Follow Jesus.*  He was a pioneer Christian pastor in South Korea when Christianity was introduced to a nation known for its worship of Buddha.  He spent almost five decades of his life as a pastor, raised a son to be a pastor, and two daughters to marry pastors.  I am the daughter of his youngest daughter who served as a pastor’s wife for 33 years before she went home to be with the Lord fourteen years ago.  To this day, when I hear that song, I think of my grandfather.

I have often wondered what it means to “have decided to follow Jesus.”  The key word in this phrase is “decided.”  Let’s look at this word and decode this for a moment by looking at some of its sister words.  Homicide.  Suicide.  Patricide.  Matricide.  Infanticide.  Decide.  Interesting, isn’t it, when you look at the words lined up like that?  What does the word decide have in common with all these other words that have to do with death?

The Latin root is “cide.”  It means to “cut down, or kill.”  So when we say we have decided on a matter, we are actually saying that we have “cut off, or killed” the other options.  Only one option is left for us to take.  When we have decided to follow Jesus, we are declaring that all other options are dead.  There are no alternatives.  It’s only Jesus.

“Jesus replied, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God’” (Luke 9:62, NIV).  In the pluralistic culture we live in where almost anything goes and universalism is making a comeback among certain sections of Christianity, it’s time for us to ponder these words.  Jesus is the only way to the Father.  If there had been any other way, the Father would have spared His beloved Son the gruesome, torturous death on the cross.  For those of us who have already decided to follow Jesus, we need to remember what this means.  It means we have chosen to walk the narrow path to the one and only God.  It means we don’t entertain the thoughts of this world that says that there are other ways to spiritual enlightenment.  It means that we know the only source of true life is Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

No more shrinking back.  No more apologizing.  No more politically correct answers.  We have effectively killed off all the other options.  It’s time for us to stand strong and offer the world the only Answer to a fallen world that has the power to give life, heal, and restore what’s been broken.  I have decided to follow Jesus.

I have decided to follow Jesus,
I have decided to follow Jesus,
I have decided to follow Jesus,
No turning back.
No turning back.

Though I may wander, still I will follow.
Though I may wander, still I will follow.
Though I may wander, still I will follow.
No turning back.
No turning back.

The world behind me, the cross before me;
The world behind me, the cross before me;
The world behind me, the cross before me;
No turning back.
No turning back.

Though none go with me, still I will follow;
Though none go with me, still I will follow;
Though none go with me, still I will follow;
No turning back.
No turning back.

Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
No turning back.
No turning back.

*Author and composer are unclear with the original attributed to S. Sunder Singh with later revisions by others.

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