C.S. Lewis on Following


If you go back to the others now, and wake them up; and tell them you have seen me again; and that you must all get up at once and follow me—what will happen? There is only one way of finding out.”

Do you mean that is what you want me to do?” gasped Lucy.

Yes, little one,” said Aslan.

Will the others see you too?” asked Lucy.

Certainly not at first,” said Aslan. “Later on, it depends.”

But they won’t believe me!” said Lucy.

It doesn’t matter,” said Aslan….

Lucy buried her head in his mane to hide from his face. But there must have been magic in his mane. She could feel lion-strength going into her.

Quite suddenly she sat up. “I’m sorry, Aslan,” she said. “I’m ready now.”

“Now you are a lioness,” said Aslan. “And now all Narnia will be renewed. But come. We have no time to lose.”

He got up and walked with stately, noiseless paces back to the belt of dancing trees through which she had just come: and Lucy went with him, laying a rather tremulous hand on his mane….

“Now, child,” said Aslan, when they had left the trees behind them, “I will wait here. Go and wake the others and tell them to follow. If they will not, then you at least must follow me alone.”

Though I’ve read it a number of times, I’ve never before noticed the last paragraph of this excerpt. It’s rather like a chapter heading in a discipleship manual.

Following isn’t an acceptable idea in today’s culture of personal autonomy, even though everyone must follow someone or something. Anyone who thinks they are completely autonomous is either a fool, or a megalomaniac. Come to think of it, a megalomaniac is just a very, very dangerous fool. If we don’t follow Christ, we follow some demigod, or cause, or the flesh. Strictly speaking, following any object of loyalty other than Christ is actually following Satan.

Knowing Him

John chapter ten is the Biblical primer on discipleship, which is all about listening and following.

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” (John 10:1-3 ESV)

Jesus’ words warn us to be wary of who influences us. In this metaphor, Jesus is the door of the sheepfold, allowing in only teachers or leaders he approves.

When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. (John 10:4-6 ESV)

Jesus’shepherd—or pastor—is his proxy, so following his chosen shepherd is the same as following him. The stranger referred to in this passage from John is simply a usurper, whether he’s a heretic, a televangelist, or a sower of discord in the church. In the flesh, we hear and believe what we want, and if it’s what we want, it is always wrong.

God’s gospel may be good news, but at first, it’s not easy to hear. It tells us we’re sinners, and we need to own up to all the wrongs we’ve perpetrated against God. That takes humility, which isn’t natural for mankind. The natural thing is to stand up for ourselves and assert ourselves against all comers, including God. Instead,we must be willing to have our hearts broken, and to die to ourselves so we can live to Christ. Like I said, that’s not easy. In fact, it may be the hardest thing you’ve ever done, and not everybody is able to give in to God.

Yielding to God in Christ is isn’t popular. When we do yield to him others will ridicule us. But Christ’s command to you and me is the same as Aslan’s: “Now, child, I will wait here. Go and wake the others and tell them to follow. If they will not, then you at least must follow me alone.”

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