Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington
Follow the Leader

Chosen Reflections: Follow the Leader


Did you play “Follow the Leader” when you were a kid? Children line up behind one person. As he or she leads the line, the followers have to do everything the leader does and go wherever the leader goes. Those who fail to precisely follow the leader are called out until one follower remains. That person then takes a turn at being the leader.

In episode six of The Chosen’s first season, the character of Mary Magdalene responds to a bold request of her by saying, “I follow Him, not the other way around.”

Such a simple statement. Yet how many times have I gone to the Lord in prayer with, to be transparent, a list of instructions from me to Him. Lord, today I need You to . . . 

More often than I’d care to admit.

If I’m truly following Him, my prayer time should include less talking and more listening. Listening for His instructions to me as I read His Word. Ava, today I need you to . . .

And that’s not even the hardest part. The hardest part of all is to actually do it. Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Mt. 7:21 ESV).

So following my Leader requires more than lip service. More than playing at religion by going to church and reading the Bible. And yes, more than even praying. A true follower does what the Leader says. And I’ll be the first to confess that I need improvement in that department.

One of the names God reveals for Himself in His Word is Adonai. Sovereign. Lord. Master. The One worthy of my obedience down to the last bit of my will.

I think of Abram, later called Abraham. God had promised him a son, but the years passed and Abram still had no heir. So he offered God a plan. He would adopt his trusted servant to be his son. Problem solved. But God was not interested in Abram’s plans. God had His own plans and they would be fulfilled in His time and in His way. End of subject.

It was in this context that God first records Abram calling His name Adonai (Gen. 15:2). The sovereign Lord who had the right to command him. Abram’s responsibility was not to come up with solutions, it was to take God at His word and obey without delay.

Like Abram, we, too, need to take God at His word and obey. Yielding to the Lordship of Adonai is the only appropriate response.

May I always be able to say with Mary, “I follow Him, not the other way around.”


This is seventh in a series of blog posts inspired by The Chosen, a multi-season series about the life of Jesus and His followers. Each post will highlight a quote sourced from Season 1. Previous posts include:

  1. Chosen Reflections: I Have Called You By Name
  2. Chosen Reflections: The Difference
  3. Chosen Reflections: Provision
  4. Chosen Reflections: Purpose
  5. Chosen Reflections: Fishers of Men
  6. Chosen Reflections: Do Whatever He Tells You



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  1. Jessica Brodie

    So good! The world doesn’t revolve around me… God is the head. I follow God, not the other way around. God chases me down because He loves me and He is a good Father, not because I’m “so great.” Only through His love and mercy can I be saved, and I’m SO blessed He cares enough to do this.

  2. Melissa Henderson

    Love this message! I pray I will follow Him in every moment. 🙂

  3. Nancy E. Head

    Great message. To be called His follower, we must follow. It’s that simple.

  4. Yvonne Morgan

    “I follow Him, not the other way around.” Okay, this statement and post stepped all over my toes. Forgive me Lord when I try to make it all about me and my wants. Thanks Ava

  5. Melinda Viergever Inman

    Amen to that! We follow him, not the other way around. So often, we’re like Abraham, taking matters into our own hands when we don’t see God doing what we thought he should do, in the way we thought he should do it. Mary’s heart as a disciple of Jesus is one we can emulate in our own lives. He leads. I follow. “I follow Him, not the other way around.” This brings an entirely new aspect to our prayer lives, like you mentioned Ava: More listening. Less talking.

  6. Karen Friday

    Ava, I can’t say enough how much I’m enjoying your posts based on The Chosen. I, too, often pray and have plan A and B in my mind hoping the Lord will do things my way. Like how you said, “Yielding to the Lordship of Adonai is the only appropriate response.”

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