“‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’” —Mathew 4:19
The “Journey of Grace” is an invitation to experience a life of transformational power that changes a person from a life of sin to a life of grace—a life of unconditional and undeserved favor of God that is revealed to all who follow Him.
As such, a journey involves traveling from one place to another. One day many years ago, I went with my then four-year-old son to a pastor’s house. When we arrived there, my son decided to join the other children as they went out to fetch water. He followed them at a distance but got lost on the way, and the children, not knowing that he had followed them, returned without him. They didn’t know where he was. So I left the house worried and started to look for him in the streets, praying that God would help me find him. I walked in the neighborhood, looking for him and asking people if they had seen a boy wandering and lost; some of them said they had seen a boy crying. We continued to look for him until we found him with a lady who was trying to take him back to where my son said was his home. For thirty minutes, my companion on the journey was lost, and those were the worst minutes of my life. Despite the challenges I encountered, I believe the grace of God was with me through the journey, and my son and I were reunited.
In Mathew 4:19, Jesus calls people to follow Him: “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” Jesus was calling ordinary fishermen to follow Him. To follow Jesus meant that they had to leave what they were doing and go with Him. They were about to embark on a physical journey with Jesus. But beyond leaving one place and going to another, they were also to take a spiritual journey, leaving their old ways of life to follow in the steps of Jesus as the leader. We too, as we journey with Jesus, will encounter difficulties and challenges, but we must be courageous and firm, following His example of being strengthened by His Father. When we are tempted or feel tired on the journey, we have to talk with our journey companion—He will strengthen us.
Matthew 4:19 starts with a simple invitation: “Come.” First and foremost, we should go to Him. When Jesus said come, He invited them to get up and go with Him, and He continued by saying, “follow me.” Following Jesus is to live according to His will and in His footsteps. We follow Him because He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). If we don’t know the way, He will show us; if we don’t know the truth, He will reveal it to us; if we don’t have the life, He will revive us. The grace of God is sufficient for us.
A group of believers in the West Africa Field started to reach out to children and youth in the streets with the purpose showing love to them. They played with the children and shared the Word of God. Many of them received Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and now one of the stores that once sold drugs for the street people has become a prayer cell. Most of the people that used to go to that store accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. When Jesus called the disciples, He invited them to follow Him so He could make them fishers of men.
As believers, in our journey of grace, we are called to bring others to Christ and journey with them in the grace of Jesus.
All over the world today, many people are desperate and without much hope for a better future. As the church of Christ, we are called to share Jesus—the source of our hope. Let us pray and ask God to go before us. The grace of God that found us is reaching out to them as well. Jesus wants to journey with them because He loves them, too.
Who knew that a place that once sold drugs would end up becoming a place for people to pray and worship God together? Only God could accomplish that through His Son, Jesus. How many times in your life have you thought you didn’t deserve forgiveness? Let us be reminded that when we think there is no solution or that nothing else can be done, the grace of God is sufficient to bring transformation! We need to remain steadfast on our journey and seek our strength in Christ Jesus.
Jesus wants to be a part of our life as we grow in His grace, and He knows that in our Christian journeys, we can’t make it alone—we need Him. For some time, when I lost my son (my companion), I felt let down and weak. I believe that’s how we feel when we journey alone. Are you feeling alone on your journey? Maybe you have not decided to walk with Jesus every step of the way. It is never too late to follow Him as He leads you on a grace-filled journey. Jesus invites His people to experience the power of transformation through Him. As we join in the journey of grace, we are transformed to be disciples of Christ and to share His grace to others desiring to follow Jesus. As a result, we embrace the journey and the mission of making Christlike disciples.
As participants in God’s mission, we receive grace, and we have to continue testifying about that grace. As disciples, we are on a journey of grace as long as we are in this world. We are called to make Christlike disciples (Matthew 28:19), helping new believers to grow in their faith as we share our personal experiences of walking with Jesus. To testify about God’s grace is a practical way to help both believers and non-believers take steps toward the journey of grace.
We were privileged to journey with some family friends who were not yet believers and we saw their lives change as they started to grow in their Christian faith. One day, they decided to share with us how our lives had impacted them. They said, “whenever we would go to your place, we didn’t like the idea because we knew we would not have alcoholic drinks and would be served soft drinks the whole day. The first thing we did every time we left your place was to stop in a small market and buy alcohol. One thing that surprised us is that you have never told us the bad things we were doing or to stop drinking, but through your lifestyle, we learned that it is possible to have a changed life and live without drinking. That was a lesson for us—you showed us the way to Jesus through your way of life.” Still today, this couple is very active in the church; the husband is serving in several positions, including as secretary in a local church, and his wife is the children’s ministry director. This kind of transformation can happen only when we commit our lives to following Jesus!
Jesus invites us all to walk with Him on the journey of grace, testifying about His unconditional love so that we might make Christlike disciples in the nations.
Celeste Chaguala is the Africa regional coordinator for Sunday School and Discipleship Ministries International (SDMI).
Holiness Today, March/April 2021
Please note: This article was originally published in 2021. All facts, figures, and titles were accurate to the best of our knowledge at that time but may have since changed.