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.