Posted by: Derek Guyer | April 23, 2011

Stop Tripping, Follow Jesus

Malachi, our five year old, has been asking to take a walk with me through the woods a lot recently. Every time he approaches me to take a walk, he says, “Daddy, will you take me for a walk through the woods so that we can talk about Jesus?” As you can imagine, this melts my heart and gives me great joy.

Last week, after we had finally gotten a break in the weather, Malachi and I took our walk into the small woods near our home. We approached the trees quietly in hopes of seeing the movement of the woods. Each step was taken with anticipation and excitement. These moments with Malachi have really become intimate and beautiful.

When we reached the back of the woods and were headed back, Malachi began pressuring me to share something with him about Jesus, again. I asked him to get behind me and to walk behind me so that he would stop tripping and falling. He would quickly submit and move behind me to obey my request, but in his excitement, would jump back out in front of or beside me and would begin tripping again as he was begging me to teach him about Jesus.

After several stumbles, I stopped and crouched down beside him, asking him to look me in the eyes. I said, “Malachi, I’m teaching you about Jesus. Get behind me and stay behind me.”

I stood back up and Malachi followed me for a little while and, when his excitement could be controlled no more, he began moving back in front of me again. As you can imagine, he began tripping again and again. He was working so hard to walk over the thorns and sticks all along the path next to me. At this point, he was out of breath, and he looked up at me disappointed and said, “Daddy, I thought we were going to talk about Jesus,” as he continued stumbling along.

I stopped and kneeled down beside him again and said, “Malachi, I am teaching you about Jesus. Did you notice that every time you walked behind me, the path through the woods was easier? That’s because I was moving the thorns and the sticks out of your path and showing you how to walk over those obstacles. When you stopped following me and got ahead of me, you started tripping and falling. Jesus tells us that if we want to be with Him, we have to follow Him. When we follow Him, He promises to lead us in the right paths. If you’d just stay behind me and follow me, you could walk easier and enjoy the time with me.”

Aren’t we all just like Malachi? We become so consumed with our own ideas and the things we want to learn, that we don’t listen to “the Way”. That is what Jesus called himself. He said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

In the midst of the struggles and the pain of life, I think most of us forget that our own stumbling is a direct result of our lack of following Jesus.

Jesus said, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.” (John 11:9-10)

We would all do well to take a step back and learn what it means to walk “in the Light.” The Light is Jesus. If you want to stop stumbling, it would be a good idea to get behind Him and follow Him.

“He leads me in paths of righteousness for His own name’s sake”

Psalm 23:3


  1. Love this illustration, thanks for sharing!

  2. i love this! i’m too much like malachi too often. God gently nudges me to get in line and I have my own idea of what I should be doing! Of course, I wonder why things don’t go smoother than they do.

    thanks for loving little Malachi!

  3. Interestingly enough after reading this yesterday, I flip open to a study on Ephesians 5:1…. Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children. What?? No way!! Get out of here. How awesome is that?

    The other day I posted this verse on Facebook…

    The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9

    I can totally relate to that passage and your post.

    It’s a perfect example of being in step with the Spirit, following Jesus and allowing Him to lead us right into Father’s presence. He made the way already, we just need to follow (and STAY ON) the path.

    Excellent, Brother.

  4. […] I personally know that smile and that tenderness so well from many sides. I have felt the disapproval of my own earthly father and the much needed release of the mercy I was extended. I’ve also watched the discouragement in my children’s eyes after they’ve disappointed me. It doesn’t take long before I’m swooping them up, holding them close, and talking them through how much I love them. I’m kissing them, crying with them, and praying that God will help us all to be more like Jesus. I’m being Father God for my children. […]

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