I was watching the world cup the other day, and France was playing China. China was ahead 1-0 coming down to the end of the game, but the French offense was dominating. It was almost assured that they would score a goal, and either send the game into overtime or win. There was a minute left on the clock and France had one last attempt to score. A shot had been put up, but Chinese goalie Zhang Cheng deflected the ball into the center of the 18. If a French forward had been there, they would have had an easy shot, and the game might have had a different result. But things ending as they did, there was no one to follow through and France lost.
Following through… Being in the right place at the right time, positioning yourself for the win. How often do we as Christians forget to follow through? I mean, it’s easy. A friend, family member or stranger prays the “prayer,” asking God to come into their lives, and all of a sudden, we think our job is done. But the reality is we are never done, not until the final whistle blows to end the game, our lives. We have to keep following through.
When someone accepts Christ into their lives, there is not always an immediate change. I think the phrase, “a new life in Christ,” is accurate, because that is what it is. A new believer is a baby, not knowing how to begin its journey of life. They need to be fed and nourished, and a new born child has no idea how to do that on his or her own. They must be held by the hand until they can crawl on their own. And when they learn how to crawl, they must then learn how to walk the life of Christ, how to be His follower. But if a baby is not taken care of in its early development of life, he or she will surely die. And so it is with faith. If we don’t follow through and check up on a blossoming Christian, helping them in their new spiritual journey, their faith may not grow and it could even die.
Matthew 28: 19-20 instructs us to “Go and make disciples of every nation, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit and teach them to observe all I have commanded and I will be with you till the end of the age.” When God said to go and make disciples, He didn’t mean, go and teach them who I am, and then leave them to fend for themselves. Jude 1:20 says that we are supposed to build each other up in the most holy faith. You see, when we guide someone along in their walk with Christ, we also grow in our own faith. Even Peter, who walked alongside Jesus, had his doubts as he walked on water. At some point in time, we will all have our doubts and struggles and will need someone to follow through and keep us accountable. I have leaders and friends who surround me, keeping me on a straight path with God. By providing that “follow through,” we can be assured that a faith won’t just wither and die, and that a new name has been written in the book of life. By positioning ourselves on Jesus’s field, we can take comfort in the fact that He will be right beside us as we take our follow through shot.