By Ed Warzyniec
I received a copy of “You Follow Me” from my good and longtime friend Jim Fink. Jim is a member of our Saturday Morning Men’s Bible Study/Prayer group and as a group, we select subjects for study and discussion. Jim suggested “You Follow Me” and we all agreed.
My church has traditions in connection with the Advent season but I had no experience with a daily devotional connected with Advent, and I’m an off-and-on adherent to structured daily devotionals. Because Jim is a good friend and the fact that the group was involved in the study I was motivated from the start to stick with the study and pretty much did so.
One thing that motivated completing it each day was that a few of us sent texts back and forth on the subject matter. Many of these were just playful pokes at each other, but it kept things fun and interesting. I wanted to complete the lesson so I would not miss out on the banter.
The whole drawing and coloring thing the book invited us to try was well out of my comfort zone. I’m involved in small group leadership at my church and so I’m intrigued by a fresh approach to studying, so that and the fact that Jim and the rest of the guys were doing it meant I went ahead and found some of the colored pencils we have around for the grandkids.
To my mild surprise, I found the sketching interesting and enjoyable. Visualizing spiritual truth has always been impactful for me. My favorite verse is John 15:5, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing,” so thinking visually for the Sketch Your Faith experiments in the book seemed like a natural fit.
On day 19 the experience was special. The Scriptures of that day were taken from Isaiah 22:22-23 and a corresponding verse in Revelation 3:7—“The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.”
As I read those verses, I began to imagine a door opening and revealing the bright light of Christ and Truth never to be shut. But simultaneously, the door was also shutting on spiritual darkness. That meditation resulted in a mental picture of a door swinging on a single hinge: the more the door opened to Truth and Light, the more it closed on sin and spiritual darkness.
As I consider my walk through life, it seems the door is swinging daily in both directions. I desire to walk in the light with Jesus, but I often slip into sin. The more time I spend in/with the Light, the more the door seems to open to the Light and close on the darkness of sin. My prayer is that I may more and more walk with the Light and, as a result, become light to others as I work my way through life.
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Matthew 5:14-16 (KJV)
The time I spent in You Follow Me was an enjoyable growth experience. For me the most important aspect was the interaction with fellow believers. Working through life with Christ and other Christians is the best.