Love GodLuke 9:57 (NIV)- As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”

For many years I have awakened every morning with a soundtrack of a film titled: The Gospel of John. The soundtrack’s name is titled: “The Prayer.” My wife and I literally wake up to this tune every morning. It is literally our first prayer of the day.

The lyrics of “The Prayer” actually say…nothing.

When Jeff Danna composed the score for this song, he had the French singer of Jewish descent: Esther Lamandier, sing the monodic tune with Latin vowels. The song has no actual lyrics besides the feelings that she pours from her heart while playing the harp.

But to my wife and I, “The Prayer” has become a medium through which we express our most sincere desire every morning. Even though “The Prayer” is just nicely composed jibberish, to us it sounds like it is saying:

“Lead…I will follow you wherever I’m needed. Wherever you go, I’ll be there too…”

The desire to follow our Lord wherever He goes is not just plain sentimentality. “The Prayer” has become the daily vehicle through which we express our most earnest desire to live as sincere disciples of Christ.

We also know… that in order to be disciples of Christ, we must be willing to take up our personal crosses every day, and follow Him to Calvary. Lord Jesus says in Luke 9:23-

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

Easier said than done…

51nfnZof+6L.jpgTo deny ourselves means that we must make the resolute decision to live entirely for our Teacher, in full devotion to what pleases Him. This means, that every intention and act must always be an offering of thanksgiving and praise for the glory of our Master.

We have denied ourselves in many ways…We have especially denied ourselves the right to hate those who have harmed us, and even though we cannot quantify any real acts of unrighteousness from our part…we choose to accept some level of guilt for the pains that others have inflicted upon us. We have denied ourselves the right to feel guiltless… exonerated.

How could we entertain feelings of self-righteousness…when in fact, we know that we too are sinners? We have made many mistakes… even though they stemmed from love and a desire to do God’s will.

Yes, we have experienced terrible betrayals. Yes, we have loved intensely and sacrificially… but we’ve also said and done stupid things out of ignorance, naivete and the error of entrusting ourselves to people with double hearts. Yes… we have suffered injustice. Yes…we’ve even been crucified by those who once praised us.

But when Lord Jesus calls his disciples to take up their crosses and follow Him–he’s not inviting us to a place of comfort. He invites us to experience the true meaning of perfect love.

The highest form of Love is to love in the midst of suffering.

When Jesus was on the Cross…he did not hate his betrayers nor those who thrust his hands and feet with nails. He loved them. He loved us in all suffering.

In fact… God demonstrates His love for us, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

JesusSo we pray every morning with the jibberish that expresses our most earnest desire…To follow Christ even to the point of death. To love God every day to the point of enduring betrayals, disappointments, and sometimes…despair. To love God to the point that it hurts. To love our enemies as Christ has loved us.

After many years of praying “The Prayer,” we have come to realize that whenever we feel like screaming: “My God, My God…why have you forsaken us?” that it is then when we have denied ourselves, taken up our crosses, and followed Jesus to Calvary.

Perfect Divine Love is the love that endures and remains through pain.

Psalm 22:24 (NIV)- For He as not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.

“Lead…I will follow you wherever I’m needed. Wherever you go, I’ll be there too…”