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“I Have Decided To Follow Jesus” And The True Story Behind The Lyrics

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‘I Have Decided to Follow Jesus’ is a Christian hymn originating from India. The lyrics are based on the last words of a man in Garo, Assam.

About 150 years ago, a great revival took place in Wales.

As a consequence, many missionaries went to North-East India to spread the Gospel. The region known as Assam consisted of hundreds of tribes who were primitive and sometimes aggressive.

A group of Welsh missionaries spread the message of love, peace and hope in Jesus Christ to these communities. They were not greeted with love, however. One Welsh missionary was able to convert a man, his wife, and two kids. This man’s faith was contagious, and many villagers started to embrace Christianity.

Angry, the chief of the village gathered all the villagers. He then called the man who had first converted and demanded he renounce his faith in public or face execution. Moved by the Holy Spirit, the man instantly came up with a song which became famous for years to come. He sang:

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“I have decided to follow Jesus. I have decided to follow Jesus. I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back, no turning back.”

Outraged at the refusal of the man, the chief told his archers to shoot down his two children. As both boys lay twitching on the floor, the chief asked, “Will you deny your faith? You have lost both your children. You will lose your wife too.”

But the man responded with these beautiful words:

“Though no one joins me, still I will follow. Though no one joins me, still I will follow. Though no one joins me, still I will follow. No turning back, no turning back.”

The chief was going crazy and he ordered for his wife to be shot down as well. In an instant she joined her two children in death.

Now he asked for the final time, “I will give you one more opportunity to deny your faith and live.”

In the face of certain death the man bolted out the final memorable lines:

“The cross before me, the world behind me. The cross before me, the world behind me. The cross before me, the world behind me. No turning back, no turning back.”

He was killed like the rest of his family. But with their deaths, a stunning revelation took place within the village. The chief who had ordered the killings was shaken to the core by the faith of this man. He wondered, “Why should this man, his wife and two children die for a Man who lived in a far-away land on another continent some 2,000 years ago? There must be some remarkable power behind the family’s faith, and I too want to taste that faith.”

In a spontaneous confession of faith, he said, “I too belong to Jesus Christ!” When the crowd heard this from the mouth of their chief, the whole village accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior.

The full lyrics are as follows:

I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
No turning back, no turning back.

2. Tho’ none go with me, I still will follow,
Tho’ none go with me I still will follow,
Tho’ none go with me, I still will follow;
No turning back, no turning back.

3. My cross I’ll carry, till I see Jesus;
My cross I’ll carry till I see Jesus,
My cross I’ll carry till I see Jesus;
No turning back, No turning back.

4. The world behind me, the cross before me,
The world behind me, the cross before me;
The world behind me, the cross before me;
No turning back, no turning back.

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