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Who are you following?

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So, who are you following?

If you had to look in the mirror right now and ask yourself, 'who am I following?' What would your answer be? Could you honestly say, "I am following God". Or would you have to say, "you know what, ....I don't know? Or......I am not".
You know this life can be confusing. Following the Lord can seem confusing also, but you know what? It does'nt have to be!! And in fact it was not meant to be!!! You see we are a "get it now" society. As americans we can be impatient, compulsive and the last thing many of us want, is to have to wait for anything! This also happens in our christian walk. We do not pray as we should. And sometimes when we do, we do not wait for the answer! We would rather "have it now", or hear something "we want to hear" (rather than wait and listen to God!). We read "how to" books rather than God's word. Now first let me say there is nothing wrong with reading books that can help us better understand the Lord, our christian walk, etc. However, have you ever asked yourself "where does most of the material for these books come from?" The answer? The Bible of course!
Now, along with this if you do have one of these "how to", "help books" and it contains no scripture (or scripture references), chances are, you should not read it! Afterall, anything without scripture is not very "scriptural" now is it?
You see we need to take the time to spend time with God and His word. Few of us do though! Instead of taking the time to read and study it we leave it to others to receive our teaching. Now let me say that pastors, bible teachers, evangelists, ministers, etc. are there to help us. That is why God put them here:
 "And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head--Christ-- from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love."
                                                     (Ephesians 4:11-16 NKJV)
 What happens though, if someone should teach us something that is wrong, or make a mistake? How can we know the difference? Well, we can by reading and studying God's word in our own time! If something we hear does not line up with the word of God, then you would have to question it! You see we are all to be led and taught by God. In fact Jesus restated what the prophet Isaiah said about this in Isaiah 54:13.
 "It is written in the prophets, "And they shall all be taught by God.' Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me."
                                                            (John 6:45 NKJV)
You see not only does God give us salavation, but He also wants to be "Lord" of our lives. He teaches us. He wants to lead, guide, direct our lives. In fact this is part of the reason He gave us the Holy Spirit:
 "If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever-- the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you."
                                                 (John 14:15-17 NKJV)
  "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you."

                                                  (John 14:26 NKJV)

 "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you."

                                         (John 16:13-15 NKJV)

You see God gives us His Holy Spirit to guide us in our walk with Him. We cannot solely rely on others. But we must read the word of God, that is study it for ourselves. We must also stay in prayer, have fellowship with the Lord. You see its not enough to simply go to church once, or twice a week, but we must spend time alone with God, His word, in fellowship, worship and in prayer with Him.

God designed us to be "dependent" on Him, not "independent from Him". This means that we need Him each and everyday, every minute, second of our lives as much as the day we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior! The question for you is this, do you want to be led by Him? Or would you rather rely solely on someone else do it for you? You see we all are to be led by Him, but how much time do we really spend with Him? Asking in prayer His will for our lives, His direction, etc. Allowing Him to teach, lead us, etc.

Think of it this way. If you had a friend that you spent allot of time with, you would probably know this friend pretty well, yes? Their likes, dislikes, etc.?

 Now think of it this way. If you did not spend much time with your friend, you probably would not know this person very well, would you? Its much the same way with the Lord! If you want to be led by Him, you must know Him!!! One hour, or two hours a week is just not enough time! Now, we know biblically that we cannot know everything there is to know about Him:

 "For who has known the mind of the LORD?
       Or who has become His counselor?"

                                            (Romans 11:34 NKJV)

However we can know much about Him from just reading His word. God did appoint others to help us, but It also takes us  pursuing Him ourselves! See in order to be led by God we must take the intitiative to pursue Him! How can we know His will if we never ask Him, spend time with Him, get to know Him?

You see the people God has appointed to help "equip" us as believers are here just for that purpose, to help! However they are still human and they will make mistakes. They should be obeyed when they are being led by the Lord. This is important:

 "Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you."

                                                   (Hebrews 13:17 NKJV)

However when something being taught is "amiss" though, that is when you must pray and ask for the Lord's guidance. Is this persons leading lining up with the word of God, or not? We should respect and obey those who are appointed over us, but we should never obey those who are directly in violation of Gods word. In fact we do have an obligation as believers to admonish (correct) in love, those who are in error:

 "Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that "by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 'And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.

                                                 (Matthew 18:15-17 NKJV)

However let me state though, that if a brother is in error you should always handle it with much prayer (i.e God's leading). You should also do this in loving "admonishen" (correction). And also it should be handled in wisdom, was it an honest mistake? How should this be handled?

Do not "jump" to conclusions, but handle it with much prayer and consideration, and most of all by God's leading. Remember that when we correct others, it it to help them "get back on the right track". It is not to degrade, embarrass, or belittle others!!!

Not enough can be said about scriptures importance in following the Lord (and living out our christian walk). We all should read and study our Bibles. Not just during a certain day, or two of the week, but as often as we can. By doing this we will better know God's leading for our lives. We will also know if something that is being taught that does not agree with scripture. You see no one on this earth is above the authority of scripture. Scripture is paramount when it comes to living out our faith. It is our basis for what we believe. If something does not "line up", or "agree" with scripture, chances are, it is not right!

When Paul the apostle was addressing Timothy, a young pastor, He made it clear that scripture was very important. That is was (and is!) to be used for doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction:

 "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work."

                                            (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV)

You see God's word is to be the absolute authority!!! Many might try to say things such as, 'well that was then this is now'. But God and His word do not change:

"For I am the LORD, I do not change;
       Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob."

                                                     (Malachi 3:6 NKJV)

 "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away."

                                                       (Luke 21:33 NKJV)

How can we know if we are following the Lord? Its only by reading, studying God's word, staying in prayer (seeking Him, etc.), worship and fellowship with Him.

This goes for all of us. Whether we are ministers, or lay people in the body of Christ. The question is are we going to follow the Lord, or rely on man? Unfortunately we are all human. We are going to be prone to making mistakes, but the question is, do we seek God and His will? Or do we try to do it ourselves?

We are all at different stages in our walk with the Lord. Some of us are more mature than others, some are not. Whoever you are though, ask yourself this, "Can I honestly say that daily I seek God's will and direction for my life, am I following Him?"

You see the same drive that brings us to His throne of grace the day we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, is the same drive that brings us back to Him everday to seek His will!!!

Jesus said this:

  "Not everyone who says to Me, "Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, "Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, "I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'

                                                   (Matthew 7:21-23 NKJV)

Whether we realize it, or not it is important to follow the Lord, seek His will. Its not enough to simply do "lip service" (that is just use words), but we must act on our faith!! Seek to follow His will, leading, direction for our lives!!! True faith requires action on our part! If our faith is really there, there is evidence!! When is the last time you got down to pray and ask the Lord, "God what do you want?"
Now we will not be perfect, but what is required of us is to be faithful (and persevere). We will make mistakes, but that is the "human nature" in all of us! What is important though, is that we "get back up" when we fall (i.e make mistakes, etc.).
We must rememer that it is not our works that save us:
 "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law."
                                      (Romans 3:28 NKJV)
But how we live shows if we really have a "living faith" (James 2:26)!!!
If you do this you can expected to receive persecution at times, its natural:
 "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, "A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me."
                                                          (John 15:18-21 NKJV)
 "Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution."
                                                           (2 Timothy 3:12 NKJV)
However, the benefits of following the Lord and being faithful to His will, outweigh the problems that can be associated (with it). Paul the apostle put it this way:
 "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."
                                            (Romans 8:18 NKJV)
"For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ."

                                           (2 Corinthians 1:5 NKJV)

This is not an easy life, but we must remember that we are never alone:

 "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen"

                                            (Matthew 28:20 NKJV)

You see this life is, at times, is a struggle. If we want, desire to be faithful to God's leading, we will be persecuted. By people who do not know God, people who may be "immature" in Christ (or just not understand), but it will happen. However, what God has for us ahead, is much better than anything we can imagine!

Jesus was (and is) serious when it comes to following Him:

 "Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father's, and of the holy angels.

                                                  (Luke 9:23-26 NKJV)


So ask yourself this, "who am I following?"



Rev. John Heintzman
Evangelist Non-Denominational
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POHOM Columbus, Ohio
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