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Following

Following

When we explore the word of God in earnest, we are empowered by it. This enables us to live a life worthy of our call to worship. We build a reliance on God instead on being dependent on other peoples opinion. Even if we learn to follow and respect those called by God to shepherd His people, we are still able to have a sense of maturity and independence with regards to our understanding of His word. We should not merely wait until Sunday to hear what the word says, but rather seek God’s counsel daily through prayer.

In this series, we have been exploring the concept of completely surrendering to God and pledging our loyalty only to Him based on Joshua 24. In this scripture, we see how the Israelites were warned against idol worship. Despite being lead by Joshua, we have come to know how their actions separated them from God. You see, because God has instructed us to worship Him in a very specific way, anything contrary renders us void of His presence. Therefore, one can still routinely attend church every Sunday, but be completely removed from the presence of God. The devil knows what we value in our lives. By stealing the fear of God from within us, he ensures that we are still able to act in our service to God, but without substance, conviction or any personal connection to God himself. Therefore, put in context, when the fear of God departs our hearts, we can still come to church, and perform all our churchly duties, but not under the cover of God. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10).

As people we have individual thought processes and opinions. These make it difficult for most to grasp the concept of being a follower. Often people find themselves desiring to act in their own way instead of that of the one whose leading. As Christians we need to follow principles that govern our faith in order to stay within God’s presence otherwise we might unconsciously fall outside God’s ways. Matthew 7:21-23 outlines two separate key elements. Calling God “Lord” does not qualify us to inherit the Kingdom, neither does performing acts of worship like prophesying. There is more to our worship that we must identify and carefully follow in order for it to be acceptable before God. Matthew 4:18-22 – Jesus came to earth with a specific mission to accomplish. He sought after individuals who were able to leave their professions and livelihoods to become “fishers of men.” These disciples remained loyal and continued with the mission even after the death of Christ because they had complete reliance on Jesus as their guide. Essentially they followed His lead and not their own.

There were times when they would say or act in a way that they thought would be in the best interest for the mission, but it was in fact not the desired solution to the problem. An example of this can be found in John 18:1-12. Peter sliced the ear of a soldier sent to capture Jesus, only to be told to put away his sword. This shows us that as a follower, instinctively your own problem solving methods are bound to surface, however it takes humility to allow yourself to be lead. God is the one that knows where we are supposed to be going. Often we start to question God’s plan and authority when situations become risky and make us feel uncomfortable. We resort to making our own assumptions and deciding the best way out of the situation as opposed to waiting on God. When we do this, we run the risk of ceasing to follow the path that God entails and going on our way without us even being aware of it. Another example, the bible outlines that the man is the head of the household, but if we look at some christian families, we find that in some disguised way, the woman is in fact the one that is leading from behind. However, even if the man is slow to provide a solution, the bible still says that he is the head of house.

So the woman taking matters into her own hands in order to quicken the process, means that she ends up being the head by default. Yet this is not the principle of God. If you have to slow your pace in order to be in line with that of your leader or head, then so be it. Remember that having the ability to follow is important. Even if you find yourself in an uncomfortable position, always stick to the principles that God has laid out for you. Do not try to resolve a situation without the principles of God because you run the risk of losing your place as a follower. What you want to avoid might be something that God wants you to go through. Even though you follow God, your problems will not automatically be eliminated and sometimes it can create even more problems. As such, do not try to avoid problems because God might be wanting to lead you through it.

Always trust and have faith that God will always have the solution. We often fall into the trap of picking and choosing what we want to follow. Does God not require us to follow him with all of our being? When you completely pledge loyalty to God, no external factors will influence the solid relationship you have with Him. If we take Job as an example, had he listened to the external comments people made about his life, and their advice to curse God, he would not have been able to enjoy the blessings that were waiting for him once he had endured his struggle. As such, we must resist seasonal worship. Choosing to be loyal only during hard times and then forgetting God when things are good is not true worship. The ability to follow God regardless of circumstance is vital. Whether you experience times of joy, sorrow or times of uncertainty. God knew that the children of Israel would be living under captivity for a long time. But it took one moment for Him to commission someone to fulfil the promise to rescue His people.

There are numerous individuals in the bible that encountered trials and it appeared as though God had forsaken them, but in reality, He never left them. The lesson of the prodigal son is something that we can learn from (Luke 15:11-32). Upon return, the father gave him a ring, a cloak and even killed a calf in his honour. Yet the older son did not understand why a similar celebration had not been given to him. His father then explained that since he had stayed by his side, whatever belonged to the father already belonged to him. As long as we do not realise that we are the children of God, we will fail to understand that we have access to a lot more than we realise. God the father is concerned for our wellbeing, and will always provide for us. In conclusion, never allow any situation to install doubt in your mind about who God is and what He can do for you.

Follow God with your heart always. If your heart loves him, it will stay steadfast. Many people want to lead but they do not want to follow, and many want to teach, but do not want to be taught. You must become a good learner to be a good teacher. Is your conduct a reflection of how the first disciples of Jesus were and continued to be even after His died? You need to be able to contribute to creating an environment that enables other christians to flourish so that they too can experience the goodness of God that you have already borne witness to. Everyone will be judged by what they do whether it is good or bad. At the end of the day, the word of God is the truth and it will come to fruition. Therefore, remember to follow what God has said in His word and in your life.

Fear of God

Worshipping God requires self-discipline. Since no-one is there to monitor the quality and quantity of our prayers, we need to develop a relationship with God that will refine that self-disciple to live as God intends. There are many reasons we come to God. Mostly, “push” factors are the things that drive us to church like hardships we are running away from or needs we desire fulfilled. Whilst “pull” factors draw us to God because a deeper understanding of who He is, and our need to worship Him. Ultimately, coming to God should not be dependant on external factors, but rather a desire to love God with all our heart, soul and strength. (Deuteronomy 4:5).

This series of teachings is based on Joshua’s warning to the Israelites to do away with their idol worship and pledge their loyalty to the Almighty God. It is centred on making a conscious decision to willingly make the necessary changes that allows focus and attention on God alone and His intended plan. Joshua served to enlighten the Israelites that though they walked in the company of the presence of God, they could not live in reverent fear of Him if the continued to harbour idols in their possession. (Joshua 24) The reverent fear of God is a vital and integral part of christianity. When this departs from an individual, the devil knows that he has taken away a core aspect of their worship. Losing that fear can occur in a very obvious manner or worse yet, in a subtle way unaware to you. You then run the risk of normalising habits you have already been warned against. Understanding the authority of God and how an element of fear plays a part is crucial because it gives you spiritual maturity and independence.

A mature christian needs not constant reminding of their core values. Let’s take going to work for example, an employee with an awareness of their responsibility and repercussions for their failure to comply will always adjust their working practises to ensure compliance without supervision. We need to be continuously aware of the authority and power of the word of God over us otherwise we start to depend on our own rational. We begin to reason and initiate our own methods to accomplish things. By making God redundant in our lives, we go against the very nature of our relationship with Him that requires our complete reliance and surrender to Him. Genesis 3:1-13 – in today’s scripture, we see that Adam and Eve knew exactly what was expected of them, because God had already made it clear. Their fear of God, as the one who created the heaven and earth, was great when they were in the garden. However, that fear departed from them in a subtle way when the serpent approached the woman and questioned her understanding of God’s instruction in relation to the tree of life.

In so doing, it triggered Eve’s mind to start doubting what God had said. How does that interaction between the snake and Eve relate to us? There are times when God speaks into our lives but we find that doubt starts to seep into our minds and we end up questioning what He had said. We might even be tempted to find out what the consequences are if we went against what was said in the first place. This could result in us paving a way to allow bad habits to become part of our everyday life. This is why our fear of God helps us to navigate through thoughts of doubts, because if we start to think something that is contrary to God’s instruction, that fear will act as a reminder to us. If Eve had said to the snake that no matter what it said, she would stick to what the Lord had said, the outcome of that encounter would have been very different. Yet, she entertained the question posed by the serpent, allowing the doubt to cloud her judgement and eventually her actions. If she had understood that by eating that fruit it would result in her dying as God had explained to her before, the fear of going against the instruction of God, and the warning that came with it, should have prevented her from acting against it. This is an example of how the devil works in our lives. He enters with a narrative that we might be familiar with and we will not be able to immediately pinpoint it as coming from him.

We then start to entertain that narrative that differs to what God has outlined, before we know it, we have moved away from God. Reverent fear prevents us from entertaining those narratives from the devil. God banished Adam and Eve from the intended life of comfort in the Garden of Eden. When they were forced to leave, it meant they now needed to start living an alternative life to the one that God had created for them. In retrospect, we can continue living life, going about our business, but if we lose that fear of God, we live a life void of Him. Furthermore, the word from God will become foreign to you as communication between yourself and God breaks down. You will no longer be able to understand God, nor His voice anymore. Your focus and goals will now differ from that of God’s. Sometimes situations appear to be difficult to achieve because we do not seem to have the means to overcome them. This is because these obstacles may require you to move to a deeper spiritual level to see them through. God operates in the spirit. The bible reminds us in John 1:12-13 that those that receive God are given the chance to be called His children. Since they are born of God, they have the opportunity to be able to connect with God on a spiritual level as well. When we look back at the Israelites during the time they were departing from Egypt, they had the Egyptian army pursing them from behind with the Red Sea ahead.

Based on what they could see, in essence they were trapped. The only rational thought would be to assume that they were going to die as there was no way out for them. However, all they needed to do was to be still and to wait on God to provide them with a way out. As such, we also have to remember to be still and allow God to take over the battle for you in a supernatural way, instead of seeking your own solutions. When we believe in God and fear Him, things begin to happen in our lives. You see, walking with God does not mean that we will be exempt from encountering difficult situations. Abraham, Isaac and many other people in the bible went through challenging circumstances during their times, but it was during those situations that God’s power and might was revealed. What is needed from us is to hold on to the faith, and the reverent fear, that we have in God throughout the situation. For example, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had to experience being placed into the furnace of fire for the Son of God to be seen with them (Daniel 3:8-30). Their attitude was that no matter the outcome, whether they were going to be saved or not, they would remain faithful to God.

Their fear and faith in God was greater than what they encountered. In conclusion, do not allow the fear of God to depart from you. Inevitably, this will give way to you entertaining bad habits that should not be apart of our lives. Do not allow the perception of others to influence how you understand God’s words and be vigilant against the devil’s tactics as he might try to persuade you using tactics that are more subtle than you might be expecting. An important thing for you to remember as a christian is that the fear of God should remain in you as it will guide how you handle difficult and challenging situations that you might encounter in life. Through it all, God will always be by your side, no matter that you encounter, just remember to love Him with all that you have.

Fear of God
The Purpose of Worshipping God

The Purpose of Worshipping God

As christians, it is important for us to understand that God has all the authority over us. Our relationship with Him is based on our ability to understand His word, believe in and implement it. This activates the miracles that we seldom wait for. It is easy to quote scriptures, but fail to undergo any transformation through its power. Ultimately obedience to scripture allows us to become true children of God.The parable of the sower in Matthew 13:1-13 exemplifies the fact that what you do with the word determines the outcome and how it impacts your life.

In the parable, the seed that the farmer scattered was the consistent, but the type of soil it fell on was different. It yielded different results based on where it fell. As such, if we do not take the time to understand the word and allow it to transform our lives, we ourselves inhibit its transformational power. The bible teaches that not doing the will of God is basically doing the will of the devil. A true christian will listen to God the Father and subsequently earn the right to be called a child of God. You see, our faith is tied to our ability to continue to believe in God. If Psalms 23:6 teaches us that His goodness and love will be with us for as long as we shall live, even if we go through times of peril, then a lack of faith will allow the circumstances of our situations to hinder our walk with God.

Living by what we can see with the naked eye can prevent us from living by faith. How? Well, if we perceive the challenge in front of us to be bigger than what we can handle we become overwhelmed and intimidated by what we see rather than walking with God by faith. During the time of Passover, when Jesus spoke of bread and wine being a representation of His body and His blood, In order for the disciples to truly comprehend this, they needed to have a deeper level of understanding that went beyond what they could see by sight alone. By faith we are driven to deeper levels of christian understanding. Sight limits the full capability of God. God is much greater that what our eyes can see. Isaac is a great example that having faith in God’s words produces an abundance (Genesis 26:1-6, 12-14).

Through human understanding, his decision to stay in Egypt during a drought would have seemed foolish and impossible. But God is able to do much greater things than we can fathom. A fruitful harvest was hidden behind God’s instruction to Isaac to sow in the dry ground that required Isaac’s obedience and faith to receive it. There are many blessings hidden in God’s words that we are sometimes unable to attain because what God requires us to do first does not always make logical sense in our eyes so we end up not doing it. God has promised so much in your life, yet you allow what you perceive by sight to hinder your obedience to the condition given because on face value, it seems illogical. Is God not the owner of everything? Does He not speak things into existence? Therefore faith in His spoken word is vital. Abraham is known as a man who lived his life by faith.

By obeying the command to leave his fathers house for the unknown he unlocked his first blessings. Again in Genesis 22:1-18, Abraham prepared himself wholeheartedly to sacrifice his much loved son who had so long been promised to him. It was the ultimate test to reveal the level of obedience that he had to God. Out of that sacrifice came even more blessings for him. So often a time, blessings await beyond the immediate challenge. The instruction may not initially make sense, but be assured that it will activate God’s intended blessing for you. Acts 13:22 – Our heart is a game changer in the things of God. It goes beyond our human logic and rational. David is described as a mighty man that sought after God’s own heart because he was in tune with God’s instruction despite his many shortcomings and acts of disobedience. David had a true understanding of God. So much so, that at a time when he had the opportunity to kill his persecutor Saul, he refrained where others would have acted. Why? Because David understood, despite circumstance, not to touch an anointed man.

As a christian you need to take stock of what draws you to God. Some things will “pull: us to God, while others will “push” us to God. But these are two very different things. David was pulled to God and sought to follow God’s instruction. In your own worship you need to think about the factors that are pulling you to God against those that push you to worship? The pull factor is what attracts you to come to God like a magnet. These are an indication of your understanding of your duty as a man in terms of your worship. It is what pulls you to seek to understand God as the maker of heaven and earth. Whereas the push factor is what you are running away from. It is the need or lack that drives you to Him as a means to a solution to resolve the challenge you are facing. Your reason to come to God ends up being centred around your needs and not about God. When you get what you want, you then focus more on your fulfilment rather than the one that provided it. Therefore our interaction with the things of God differs between what pulls us and what pushes us to Him.

In conclusion, remember pull factors include seeking God because you know who He is, you understand His authority over your life, you know your position as His child and work hard to follow His word. Whereas push factors include seeking God for what we can acquire and achieve, as well as challenges we need rectified. Your focus is pursuing God in order to fulfil your needs. It comes from a place of selfishness instead of worshiping simply because God is God. Today, be encouraged to reflect on what pushes you and what pulls you to worship God. List both factors noting down what falls into each category.The purpose of a human is to seek God whether we have everything or nothing at all. Lack should not hinder our worship. We are meant to give everything to Him when we come to Him. If we remain within the limits of our human ways, we will be unable to fully grasp God spiritually. Let your understanding be elevated to a deeper spiritual level as you continually dwell in God’s presence.

Value

In Deuteronomy 8:3, we are reminded of the time God provided manna from heaven as sustenance for the Israelite people in the dessert. Manna was readily available for the people to eat, just as bread is a ready made commodity for us today. In contrast, consider the example of Jesus at the start of his ministry. For 40 days and nights, He endured fasting in the wilderness and during this time of physical weakness the devil had an opportune moment to tempt Him.

The power of the spoken word is demonstrated, when Jesus responses by quoting the scripture “men shall not live on bread alone, but all the words that come from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).”Jesus understood that even though He was hungry, bread alone could not sustain Him and He knew that He needed the power, love and guidance that came from God alone, and not from physical food. God is able to fill you with His word instead. You see, when people encounter difficult situations, they tend to seek quick ready made answers. Such can also be seen with Isaac when he was in Egypt (Genesis 26). His intent was to move his family from the dry barren land they inhabited to a place where the ground was more fertile in order to fulfil their hunger needs. However God instructed him to stay in Egypt and sow crops in that very dry ground. Again we see the the power of the spoken word. When Isaac obeyed God’s instruction, he was able to harvest hundred fold where others had been unsuccessful. What comes from the mouth of God is not merely sufficient, but abundant. Most of the things that God asks or tells us to do hold hidden value that is not always evident to the naked eye. This is why we should take note of what God says because it will always yield results be it now or at some point in the future. Remember, just as Peter was reminded in Matthew 19:27-29, whatever we forgo or sacrifice for the sake of the gospel will never go unrewarded. In previous summaries, we have explored the concept of value and concluded that the amount of time one spends on something denotes its value. For example, students that value their education spend more time studying than those that feel otherwise. Likewise the manner we interact with God, demonstrates not only our understanding, but the value in which we regard Him. If we don’t invest value, we cannot receive value. In essence, we reap what we sow. As such, when we value God, He in turn values us. So if things are not going our way, instead of blaming or questioning God, stop and reflect on whether you apportioned value to your actions in the first place. Matthew 22:37 instructs us to “love the Lord with all our heart.” Looking at the “heart” as an organ, its vitality is the ability to pump blood to all parts of your body. Now if we place God at the centre or “heart” of our lives, it means that whatever we feel or do will be God filled. If we however allow our mind to be the central focus, it means that our actions are factual and whatever decisions we then take are born of practicality and human sense. Let’s put both these concepts into context. Practically speaking, if the mind is the main decision maker coming to a conclusion based on facts, one seldom finds people that are willing to marry into poverty because it makes no sense to chose to live a life of hardship. However, if the heart is involved in the process, then marrying into poverty becomes a sacrifice one is willing to make for love. Based on the Matthew 7:12, 22:37-40, if you understand the value of God in your life, you then automatically understand the importance of other human beings. So much so, that you will treat others as you would like to be treated. The command to love, simply cannot be ignored. If you want love, you have to love. If you want to be valued, you need to value others. If you want to receive, you must first give. A human being was made in the image of God, so how is it that we can love God that we have not seen, yet we cannot love our neighbour that we can see? Ultimately the more you disregard another person, the more you discredit the word of God. If you witness another persons sorrow or hardship and it brings you joy, then that is a red flag. Take a moment to assess whether you truly see the value of that persons life? Loving your neighbour creates community. Even the word of God includes instruction that upholds respect and brotherly living. Showing love is not only limited to our interactions with other people, but our conduct before God. Does Matthew 6:12 not teach us to forgive as we ourselves desire to be forgiven by God? So if you are unjust or unforgiving to others, in some way, the same measure will be used against you. If you invest your time into an activity, you will get a return on your investment. Gone are the days where you can expect to receive without input. You need to invest in God and He will invest back into you. I believe that God has spoken something of value in your life that you need to go back and reflect upon. Often times we wait for a miracle from God when in fact, the answer lies in a word already spoken upon your life. In Genesis 22:15-18, it was only when Abraham came to sacrifice his son Isaac, that God acknowledged the full extent of Abrahams love and loyalty to Him. Remember, Abraham was already blessed from living a life of complete obedience to God’s instruction. However, it took this single act of faith to activate a deeper connection with God. This stands as testament that you are never too experienced, late or old to activate greater value from God.Therefore, in conclusion, never put a limit to what you can achieve before God in certain parts of your life. If God has spoken something over you, who can oppose it? Refrain from negative thinking because that automatically limits your brain from achieving. Rather declare that through the power of Jesus, you are able to accomplish anything. Remember that God is more valuable than anything that you can think of. Show love to Him by showing love to your community.

Value
The Value of God

The Value of God

So often a time we celebrate easter as a habitual tradition and get caught up in the glamour of it. But have you ever stopped to think and reflect on the profound significance of Jesus’ death in our lives? Do you understand the message of the cross? Can you comprehend what it truly means for the son of God to be born of a man, live a challenging life and still suffer the punishment worthy of criminals? As christians, we need to be thankful and appreciate the ultimate sacrifice Jesus paid for us. Coming to church can quickly become a routine Sunday pass-time, if we forget the reason we attend church. Jesus died for us at the cross so that we can have the opportunity enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Be sure not to waste such an opportunity always remembering that on judgement day, Jesus will stand as witness that we have lived a life worthy to be His own. In the current series of teaching we have been embarking on, we have already established that in order to live a life worthy of Christ, we must make God our priority. We have explored the story of Joshua and the Israelites and how pledging your loyalty to God, forsaking all else including our idols, is vital in our worship. However one cannot achieve this without understanding the principle of value. There is a statement a world renowned athlete once said which is can be applicable to us. He said that there are two very important days in ones life. Firstly, the day of your birth and secondly the day you realise your purpose. In order to become who God has created you to be, you need to realise and understand the specific purpose God has bestowed upon your life. According to Exodus 19:5, we know that through obedience we not only have a chance to live a life as His chosen here on earth, but also inherit the Kingdom Of God as true heirs. Simply knowing how to do something is different from having the ability to actively apply that knowledge. This ultimately affects how we behave. As such, understanding the value of God in our lives is very important because it will determine our later actions. By definition, value means the importance or the worth that something has. The perception that we have of something determines how we value it in our lives, and ultimately affects how we act towards it. If you value something, you will naturally pay more attention it than something that you do not value. Therefore, nothing you do in the presence of God will go in vain. In today’s scripture, Deuteronomy 6:4-9, God states his supremacy and disapproval of anything that rivals Him. The value of God is priceless, so you cannot put a price on it. The verse specifies that you need to love God with everything that you have, any strength you can master within yourself is the full amount you need to put towards loving Him, giving your whole self. God is, and should be, number one in your life. The word of God is the counsel of God. It is so easy to fall prey to not loving God with all our heart and apportion subpar attention in comparison to what we should be giving. This is why, in the scripture, we see how God specifically outlined how His instruction was to be received and taught from generation to generation as an everlasting ordinance. People are inevitably born into sin. This goes all the way back to the time of Adam and Eve. Their children Cain and Abel, (and all generations that followed), were born into a condemned world because of their sin. However, God has provided a way to redeem us from sin through the baptism of water and spirit. Jesus teaches of this rebirth in John 3:3. You see to be able to understand God more and subsequently be able to value Him, you must not only turn from your sin physically, but begin to operate in the spiritual realm as well. God is spirit, so whatever He says, we need to be in the realm of the spirit to be able to fully understand. In John 1:12-13, we learn that we were born as humans. Baptism by water is the process of dying together with Christ and rising again with Him, enabling us to be born of God. As a result, we end up moving from the natural realm, to the people who are now born of God. However being born of the spirit, does not mean that we will mature overnight. Rather, we need to learn to be able to grow in Him in the same way a child is nurtured and taught. Just like a child learns from their environment, we too must find a model to inspire and shape us. There is no greater model other than Jesus Christ Himself. When we remove the barrier that is our human thinking, we will be able to understand what God requires of us and give Him the value He truly deserves. Let us know that there is a deeper level that God wants us to reach through the renewal of our mind daily so that we do not conform to the patterns of this world (Romans 12:2). Aspiring to reach this level will encourage our mindset to shift and evolve as we begin to value the things of God in a manner acceptable to Him. In today’s society, understanding our limitations will enable us to overcome them as we seek to fulfil our purpose in Christ. If we do not strive to overcome our human nature, we will forever be governed by it. Jesus revealed Himself to Saul on the road to Damascus in such a profound way, Saul completely became a new being. He was transformed from being a persecutor of believers to what he himself proclaimed as a slave to the gospel. God became so valuable to him, he dedicated the rest of his life fearlessly preaching the word of God. (Acts 9:1-30). Saul fulfilled his purpose because he knew the value of Christ. In the same way, let us allow God to reveal himself to us in such a way will too are completely transformed. Remember that it is important to put value in the things of God so that you can invest your time in it. Why? Because the bibles outlines that where your treasure is, that is where your heart is (Luke 12:34). This means that your actions will reflect if God is valuable to you or not. Never forget that God is the one that gives you the breath to be alive, therefore He needs that acknowledgment from you. Without health, you cannot do anything that you may set out to do. Put God first and let the word of God have authority in your life.

Authority

This world always presents numerous attractions before us, in an attempt to lead us away from
the whole reason we were created by God. God has instructed us to love and worship Him with all our hearts, while walking in obedience. That is the whole duty of man. God has always intended for us to inherit His heavenly kingdom. He has a love for us incomparable to anything we can fathom. However, often the needs of the flesh and human mind draw us away from the focus of God. Our success lies in our realisation that God indeed has a perfect plan for us. We have to overcome our flesh and start to seek what that perfect plan entails, not only demonstrating our love for God through our words, but through our actions.

 

When you start to worship knowing who is God is, you will be able to understand His power and
authority over you. If we take the disciples of Jesus as an example, Jesus told them to come and
follow Him so that they would be fishers of men. His word was enough to move them into action and they obeyed. In your worship, you need to understand God’s expectations of you. Understanding the power relationship between God and man is vital. Humility gives you the ability to lay your life down in surrender only to God. It gives you the grace to put God’s instruction above your human understanding or opinion. We are empowered to walk in obedience even if we may not agree with the path God decides upon. Empowerment comes through our knowledge and understanding of the word of God. We become the individuals whom God wants us to be without a reliance on other people or things we use as “crutches.” It gives us the independence to be proactive in our worship without constant persuasion or instruction from peers.

If we look at the Israelites during the time of Joshua, they had developed “crutches” to rely on in the form of idols, instead of God. Joshua’s message to pledge their loyalty only to God was not only a warning, but an opportunity for them to change their ways. It was a message of complete submission to the authority of God. Authority is the power to be able to get someone to do something. For example, at the work place people are not told everyday that they need to be on time or how to perform the duties. Instead, there is an understanding between the employer and the employee developed at the start of employment through a written contract that outlines all expectations. The employer gains authority over the employee. As such, employees need not be reminded of their duties because there is an expectation to work as according to the contract. If compliance is lacking, certain interventions are then taken. The authority of the workplace is such that you automatically work without constant supervision. Therefore, submitting to authority is interlinked with a certain level of fear for the consequences should you not comply. Sadly, christians of today do not apply the same principles in their worship. That is why we often find that people will comply to their work place, but not to the things of God. God should be the authority we seek to live under.
Submitting to God’s authority equals empowerment.

You will no longer need persuasion from your pastor or peers to do what God wants you to do. Once you understand that authority, you will start to seek the answers in His word. With every circumstance you encounter, you will search deeper through the scriptures to find out the true meaning and solution. As previously established, the Israelites in the time of Joshua lacked a true understanding of the authority that had delivered them from Pharaohs hand. The word of God has power and authority, but only to the extent to which we as individuals allow it. Most people want to use the power of the word of God by quoting verses from the bible, but they themselves do not want to bow down to what the word is saying. Anyone can quote from the bible, but how it is implemented in our lives is different. Being able to do what the word says enables us to use the power of the word in whatever circumstances that may arise.

Deuteronomy 8:1-3 – God has the ability to speak anything into existence. He can make a difficult
situation bearable. He provided manna to the Israelites, food never seen before. Whatever need
you have or challenge you are going through, you have to find God. He makes all things possible.
Do not seek the end product, but you need the manufacturer of the products instead. Was Isaac
not instructed to remain where he was and plant on dry ground instead of going to Egypt? In his
obedience, did he not harvest 100 fold? God made the impossible possible. What Isaac needed
was not what Egypt could offer him. It was neither good soil nor rain but God Himself. When the
word of God is activated and manifests in us, we walk in abundance. What comes from the mouth
of God is stronger than what we can see with our naked eye. To those observing Isaac, they probably were at a loss as to why he was planting seeds on dry ground. Because they did not have the same conviction or understanding as Isaac, they could not comprehend his actions.
We see the same principle being taught by Jesus in Matthew 4:4. Truly man does not live on
bread alone, but what comes from the mouth of God. As such, even if God’s instruction seems
difficult or impossible, we must still act upon it. God makes all things possible.
In conclusion, take this time to reflect on your way of thinking. Do not allow your opinion or lack of faith to overpower the authority of God in your life. Many people quote 1 John 4:4 but fail to reflect on what is truly within them. Is it God, or is it self? God cannot dwell within you unless you submit to his authority. In John 21:6, we learn that by humbling themselves and submitting to Jesus’ authority through obedience, the disciples caught more fish than their nets could hold.

Therefore, we can only tap into the authority when we humble ourselves to it. The word of God is the counsel and mind of God. Let us see the word of God as something that we have to live by everyday and to give in to what it says. Then and only then will we be able to use the word of God with all its power.

Authority
Transformation

Transformation

Let me start by asking you this, what is your first thought or action at the start of the day? As a
Christian it is important for your life to be a reflection of the word of God. One cannot merely wait for
a single day in the week to then engage in hearing His word. Seeking God should be a daily routine.
Before we engage in anything else in the day, we need to take the time to hear what God has to say
to us through His word. If we allow God to speak to us at the start of the day, then we have guidance
for the rest of it. The choice is for us to make use of such an opportunity presented to us. God should
be the first voice we hear, the first one we communicate with before all else.

By prioritising Him in the morning, we are essentially inviting Him to take control of the day to come. Knowing and understanding that we are His children, allows us to make God our priority.
Previously we explored the concept of “becoming,” and how undergoing this process is
transformational. Usually if you want to change your character to become better in some way, it
involves undergoing a process of change. For example, if you are not a Christian and you want to be
one, there is a transformation that happens for you to transition from one phase to the other. This
transformation is what makes you become who you are aspiring to be, or someone God always
intended you to become. If you are the kind of person that expects change by merely hearing the
word without any contribution on your part, then you are mistaken. There are certain things that you
have to demonstrate that will bring about the change that you want to see. You must accept and
apply the word of God without any resistance for resistance stunts growth.
Today, many are only christian by name. They only go to church and hear the word, but it doesn’t
touch them enough to initiate the change that they need to undergo. If previous ungodly behaviours
are still presenting now that you are born again, then transformation has not yet occurred within
you. For example, if a person was known for gossiping, even if they have a desire to change, yet still
find themselves gossiping, then they have not truly allowed the word of God to manifest within
them. Ultimately, there is a transformational process you have to go through to become a true
christian. That’s why we have two different categories of christians; those that have engaged in the
process of the transformational change to become the children that God wants them to be, and
those that are christian by name, who do not engage in that process and choose to remain as they
are. The latter category can often be seen quoting bible verses that suit their situation, but fail to
understand its true context. God expects a transformation within us as our knowledge of Him
increases. The key to becoming God’s chosen possession, lies in the ability to faithfully obey His
commandments (Exodus 19:5) This is what initiates our growth.
There are many examples of people in the bible that had to go through change before they could be
used by God. Elisha become a man that was used by God mightily because he went through a
transformation. Many people want the end result, but do not want to go through the process of
change to achieve it. Resisting sin will make the devil flee from us, but so often many find
themselves unable to abstain from sin. By giving in to their worldly desires, they attract the devil.
Jesus started His message of repentance within the synagogues. Why? Because that is where most
were religious not righteous. The same can still be said of modern day believers. People still attend
church, but remain unchanged or inspired by the word. Ask yourself this, are you aligning yourself
through His word to be compatible with God? Is it worth spending your life gathering all the things of
this world at the expense of your soul? (Mark 8:36) As a Christian, it is imperative to think beyond
the tangible things that you can see with your naked eye. Think about the Kingdom of God. A time is
coming when this world will come to pass and we will have to face God giving an account of how we
chose to live. In that day, will Jesus stand and acknowledge you as His own?
Genesis 3:22-24. The garden of Eden was beautiful and had everything that Adam and Eve needed,
however they paid the ultimate price when they violated God’s command. Their sin caused them to

be expelled forever with no access to eden. The length of their lives was limited and animosity
replaced the contentment they once enjoyed with the very animals they tended to. Adam and Eve
lost the opportunity to live in paradise, in the presence and provision of God. Instead, they, and all
generations to come were sentenced to a life of working the land in order to survive. In the same
way, we can equate how violating God’s command can cost us the Kingdom of God and the blessings
associated with it. However we see in John 3:3-7 a second chance being granted to us through Jesus
Christ. He is our access back to the Father. Whoever is born of man is born into a cursed life resulting
from the disobedience of Adam and Eve. However, through Jesus, we can undergo a transformation.
The process of baptism symbolises dying to self and rising again through Christ. By water, the Holy
Spirit and the blood shed on the cross to redeem our sin, we can again have access to the presence
and ultimately the Kingdom of God. Therefore, our actions must reflect how Christ now lives in us.
In conclusion, let us then not confirm to the patterns of this world, instead we need to continuously
renew our mind on a daily basis (Romans 12:2). Let us not resist the process of change, but embrace
it as a part of the transformation that we need to go through to become the people that God has
destined us to be.

Becoming

God has given you another chance to live. Why not use this time you have been given
wisely. We should be mindful not to focus on what we do not have, but we must take time
to appreciate what we do have. The bible teaches to be joyful at all times. True joy comes
from within. It is an intentional choice to be joyous at all times.

God speaks through His word. His word is not so that we can make comments about it,
then go back to our daily life. It is not a word to simply be enjoyed. It is not an interesting
fictional story. The word of God teaches us to become. Becoming is a process of
transformation. It is transformative because it inspires us to become something new. By
definition, transformation means an extreme, radical change. As long as you don’t
understand the word in this context, no matter how many years you might hear it or attend
church, it will not have that transformational effect in your life. If we are unable to realise this
aspect of the word, it’s purpose for us will be lost. This is why application of what we hear
from the word of God is very important.
Becoming means that you are on a journey from one point to another. Look at the devise
you are using today, it was a transformation of raw materials that were put together to
create the gadget you have now. So is the word of God. If we give ourselves to the word,
we become transformed. Unless mixed with faith (Hebrews 4:2), we know that the word of
God isn’t beneficial in us. You see, the word of God teaches us to be elevated from one
level to another. As such, when God speaks, He wants to transform us. This can only be
realised through our ability to fully surrender to God. Even if we believe in God, we might
find it difficult to accomplish our purpose because we lack the capacity to apply the word in
the situations we face. Our life, the word, and our faith can be separate entities, but when
we can combine them to work coherently together, they become transformative.
For you to become who God called you to be, you need to effectively use the bible
resourcefully by implementing what you have read and understood. In Joshua 1:9, Joshua
was instructed by God to be determined. This required him to be unwavering in his
decisions and to stand by them. God knew that Joshua would encounter challenges and
warfare. Joshua therefore needed to become something that he was not before; a
determined individual. When you permit the word of God to transform you, you inherently
fulfil your purpose. Sadly, so many of us start the process of transformation, become afraid,
then opt out of it. In Today’s context, Joshua embodies the concept of remaining steadfast
through adversity. Remember, students learn, not to recite back the same information to
their teachers, but rather learn in order to implement what they have learnt through the
concept of application. In order for us to undergo that transformative process, we need to
be able to apply the knowledge that we are learning from the word of God in to our day to
day life.
1 Kings 19:19-21- This is an extraordinary scripture. There is no one who builds a house
without counting the cost. In this story, we read that Elijah put his cloak on Elisha. We know
that Elijah was a man sent by God Himself, meaning that there was something significant
about his cloak. Whatever it may have been, the act of putting the cloak on Elisha, became
the stimulus that inspired Elisha’s transformation. After that encounter with Elijah, Elisha’s
life was never the same again. He slaughtered his oxen and left his home to serve Elijah as
a servant. We see the same transformation when the first disciples were called. One word
inspired them to leave their livelihoods and become fishers of men. If we evaluate these two
encounters we see that the word of God can only be transformational to us once we see
the value that it holds in our lives. The word of God has the power and authority to change
us only is we give ourselves to it.
Often a time, many of us have encountered God in a supernatural way. Perhaps God wants
to use us to bring healing, or prophesy, or even preaching, but we resist or completely

ignore. So the transformational value of God doesn’t work in us. We must surrender to
God’s will in order to become. It was a difficult decision for Elisha to give up his life and
leave his patents. However he understood that there was a greater value in whatever was
urging him to act in the manner he did. Elisha chose to acknowledge it.
Becoming is not about merely listening to what God says and not actually applying it. We
have the potential to do greater things if we allow God to work within us. (John 14:20). We
need to use the word to make the required change from within. We cannot pick and chose
particular verses that are favourable to us but rather embrace all of it. We must be like the
wise builder who build is house on a solid rock by having our foundations rooted in faith
(Matthew 7: 24-27).
The process of transformation is a choice that we must make by willingly offering ourselves
to God to allow Him to work in us. When we show any resistance, God might choose to
move to another person who is more willing than we are.
Take the time to reflect on your life. How can we expect the same God we have denied to
then give us what we ask for? Jesus Christ died on the cross so that our sins could be
forgiven. His death has given us access to the Kingdom of God. Declare today that you
want to become. Chose to become someone moulded by God through His own process.
Think about what God has asked us to do, we may have refused to adhere to it, and thus
refused the process of becoming. Becoming is much more than the theory of hearing the
word, but involves engaging in the transformation process. Our common enemy is the devil.
We need to remember that our focus should be on undergoing the process of
transformation to become something new, instead of engaging in confrontations and
conflicts with our fellow brethren. We can be great people if we allow the process of God to
change us.

Becoming
Commitment

Commitment

Hearing the word of God and not putting it into practise is like building a house on an unstable
foundation. (Matthew 7:24-27). The word of God is what gives our faith depth and subsequently the
ability to weather any storm that comes our way. It is vital then that when we hear God’s word, we
take time to understand it then put it into practise in situations applicable to that word. You cannot
just hear the word on a Sunday, comment on how inspirational it was , then forget about it.

If we take pupils in school as an example, we know that they are not just primarily going there to recite to
the teacher what they have a learnt, nor merely to pass an exam. They learn the idea of
conceptualising the information that they are learning so that they can apply it later on in a different
situation when need arises. Even if we take a look at professions such as doctors or lawyers, they
learn the theory of their professions in education, but they must then apply that theory in hospitals
or in the courts. In the same way, as christians, we need to develop the habit of learning how to
reflect on the word and teachings we receive so that we can apply it to our everyday lives. It is a
choice to actively put that word into action. A person with an inability to apply the word of God is
seen by the continuous repeating of the same mistakes.
This current series of teachings revolves around the book of Joshua, mainly focused on the
ultimatum he gave the Israelites to leave their idols, pledge their loyalty and serve the God that had
delivered them from captivity. We then delved deeper by uncovering the importance of
understanding who God is and the power dynamic that exists between ourselves and Him. Following
that, we unpacked the meaning of humbleness and how to surrender before God. With the most
recent teaching looking into walking in the voice of God. Today, the focus will be on commitment and
how Jesus explains it to us.
When we make that declaration to serve God, it means that we have made a conscious decision to
do so. There is often a misconception that if we have no lack we don’t need God. Most see no need
for God, if they are in good health or have amassed a certain amount of wealth. Contrary,
Deuteronomy 8:18 says that God is the giver of wealth. Ecclesiastes reminds us, our reason for living
is not to chase material gain, or the acknowledgment of the world, but it is in fact about worshipping
God (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Nowadays, we choose to worship on our own terms as opposed to the ways
that God has outlined for us. To commit to something requires some form of sacrifice. It requires
giving in to something and prioritising it, forfeiting something else.
Luke 9:57-62 – In this scripture, Jesus is trying to illustrate that true commitment to Him is inevitably
at the expense of something else in our lives. There is ultimately a price to pay. In verse 58, Jesus
reiterates that life in ministry is uncomfortable. One must forgo their creature comforts for the sake
of the gospel. Essentially He was asking the people if they would be committed to reprioritise the
very things they deem important to them and put God and His work first? In Luke 9:62, Jesus uses an
example of someone who takes up the plough and starts to work, but continuously looks back. In this
verse He states that anyone who does that “is not fit for the Kingdom of God”. The act of ploughing
requires a degree of concentration to ensure straight beds. Looking back means that you are
distracted and will prevent you from keeping a straight line. If you continue to look back whilst
ploughing, it demonstrated that your attention is divided between the work you should be doing and
whatever it is that is distracting you. Ultimately anyone with a divided mind is therefore not fit for
the Kingdom of God.
Understanding what following Jesus entails prevents us from attempting to serve Him on our own
terms. We need to realise that worshipping God is a commitment. One we ought to uphold
regardless of challenges or obstacles that may befall us. This understanding will ensure that we
remain focused on the goal even if we encounter potential distractions.

Understanding the context of a scripture will enable you to understand how it can apply to your life.
For example, If we take the scripture from Exodus 19:5 at face value, then it would mean that anyone
can just take that verse and declare themselves a prized possession just like the Israelites. However,
when we put it into context, we know that there is a requirement needed to stay in that favour. One
must faithfully obey the commandments of God and live a life of obedience to be able to be that
prized possession. In the same way, you cannot receive the blessing that comes with commitment if
you lack it. Many christians today are passive followers. They lack active involvement and
commitment to the Kingdom of God. If you feel satisfied with merely attending church routinely,
then you need to re-evaluate your purpose in following God.
Luke 14:26-31 – You have to count the cost of following Jesus. There is price to pay to be a disciple for
Jesus, it is not completely free. It is true that Jesus died on the cross for us, but there is something
that you must prioritise and sacrifice in order to follow Him. To be a child of God is a lifetime
commitment. Let’s reflect once again on the book of Joshua. By choosing to God, it meant that the
Israelites had give up their idols. That was the cost of following God. Ask yourself this, Have you truly
considered what you must leave behind in order to follow God? Today, many are weak in spirit
because they have not accounted for the sacrifice required of them to fulfil the life of a christian.
Most prefer to keep a distance from the things of God, observing from afar as opposed to getting
involved.
At the end of the day, God should be your first priority. Understand that in order to make Him your
priority, you need to be committed to Him. Embrace the fact that you will have to give up some
things that you were used to in order to do so. It is not an easy feat, but remember, God is always
with us to strengthen us. There is much to do in the work of God, so make sure that you are more
proactive in His house. Be eager to put into practise all you are learning.

Walking in the voice

Walking in the voice of God is something that cannot be stressed enough. It is an important act that
enables us to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Walking in voice requires us to hear what God is saying,
understand the instruction then ultimately walk in it. It is a key element that helps us build a
relationship with God.

Perceptions and perspective affect how you approach life and consequently how you then choose to
live it. As a child of God, your interpretation of life, must come to the same conclusion as the Father
intended. God speaks in different ways. He can speak in an audible voice you hear, He can speak
through visions and dreams or prophesy, and also through the scriptures. Walking in the voice is
therefore being sensitive enough within your spirit to be able to recognise God when He speaks.
Regardless of the manner in which He does so.
John 10:27-28 – Jesus refers to Himself as the chief shepherd, and us, as His sheep. The scripture
itself outlines that there is a special relationship that exists between the shepherd and his flock.
When sheep recognise the voice of the shepherd, they respond accordingly. In order for that to
occur, the shepherds voice would have become familiar to the sheep. In the same way, so too must
we become accustomed to our master. Think about it, if someone is known to you, when they call
your name, do you not respond in a way that reflects the existing relationship you have? This is why
developing a relationship with Jesus is so important. It is not possible to follow, if you do not know
the voice of the person that is trying to lead you. But when you have an understanding of who God
is, it becomes second nature to automatically act upon hearing His voice.
John 10:1-6- Take a moment to imagine a sheep pen. Would it not be strange if you saw someone
climbing over the fence instead of using the gate? The scripture is clear that it is a foe not a friend
that would behave in this manner. A friend would have ready access to the sheep pen. Like wise, the
rightful shepherd would enter through the gate. He would go ahead of his flock and call each by
name, leading it to greener pastures.
John 10:12-17- Supposing the shepherd is a hired help instead of the owner. Would he not still care
for the sheep? Indeed he may very well do so, however, the scripture teaches us that his dedication
to the sheep is not be as strong as that of the owner. Why? Because a hired help would flee when
faced with danger, but the owner would risk their life to defend his flock. Now let’s put both
scriptures into context. If we allow Jesus to be our shepherd, we have all assurance that He will stand
and protect us. He would not come like a thief in the night and jump over the fence. Jesus has direct
access to us. There is a certain level of trust and reliance that can only develop by getting to know
Jesus as our shepherd. Jesus showed His devotion to us by becoming the true sacrificial lamb. He
died on the cross so that we could be saved and have everlasting life.
Historically the role of a shepherd has often been looked down upon in comparison to other
occupations. For Jesus to proclaim Himself as the chief shepherd, in a role that is often not highly
regarded in society, is evidence of His humility. By taking on that responsibility, He wanted to show to
us that we can follow Him wherever He leads as He knows the path already.
The relationship between Jesus and those that belong to Him is reciprocal. As John 10:14-15
highlights. Being able to distinguish His voice amongst all the others around you is very important. It
protects you from being mislead. Other voices may come under the guise of offering you life, but
they are not the true voice of God. You can only make that distinction if you have a relationship with
God. As the true sheep, your conscious should be able to help guide you even if there is pressure to
follow those other voices. Jesus has given us the instruction to love. (Matthew 22:36-40). All the
commandments are centred on this concept of love. If you love, you do not have the capacity to
cause harm. Therefore, any voice that leads you to harm, is not of God. Use the scripture as a road

map to follow God. Everything relevant to your christian walk is written within it. The onus is on you
to follow it.
As the sheep, be mindful that there are still others that belong in the sheepfold but have yet to
arrive. The great commission,(Matthew 28:18-20), is so that those that have not become part of the
flock can be given the opportunity to belong to it. Anyone that believes in Jesus and makes a
conscious decision to live by His commands is part of His flock, (John 10:27), but anyone that rejects
Him does not belong to Him, but rather the devil (John 8:44).
Remember, some things look good from afar, but they are far from God. Sometimes we can become
attracted to things that are bad for us, which is why it is important that we take time to strengthen
our resolve and become firm in our relationship with God. Find the time to read the scripture and
through prayer, immerse yourself in God. At the end of the day, what is in your heart is more
important than what you say with your lips. The bible in Isaiah 29:13 says, “These people claim to
worship me, but their words are meaningless, and their hearts are elsewhere.” This is why even
when you are out and about, at work or even at school, God needs to remain in your heart. He
should be the foundation of your actions. Let the word of God be our daily bread. Let it become part
of our foundation as Christians. It will help us navigate the complexities of life. As children, youth,
young adults and adults, let God be the centre of all we do so that He can continue to fight for us and
guide us to those greener pastures as He has promised.

Walking in the voice
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