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Monday, December 05, 2011

What It Means To Follow The Lord: Three Simple Steps

In a society like ours, it is easy to get confused with the amount of information available to us. We can drown in it.  When it comes to Christianity, the same can be true.  People try to explain what it means to be a Christian depending on their denominational bent, theological bent, and a bunch of other "bents."

Then there's the Bible. You come to passages like 1 Samuel chapter 7.  Read verses 3-4:

"Then all the people of Israel turned back to the LORD. 3 So Samuel said to all the Israelites, “If you are returning to the LORD with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths and commit yourselves to the LORD and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” 4 So the Israelites put away their Baals and Ashtoreths, and served the LORD only." (NIV)

The people of Israel want to come back to the Lord.  Samuel who has been silent for 20 years, tells them what to do if they want to "turn back to the Lord."  

First,  he tells them to repent.  Repentance is to turn away from those things that are sinful, to get rid of them. It has to be from the heart.  You can't repent and hold on to what's keeping you from God.  You have to let it go, get rid of it.  God wants all of you. You can never serve two masters because you can only love one (Luke 16:13).

Second, he tells them commit themselves to God. To commit to God means you deliberately make him Lord of your life.  The ESV says, "direct your heart to the Lord."  That's exactly what it means to commit to Him.  It means that your heart is directed at Him all the time. Your focus and energy are directed at Him. It means you align your heart to his heart (a man or woman after God's own heart - see Acts 13:22). A person who does everything God commands.

Third, he tells them to serve Him, only Him.  Everything you do must be for his glory (see 1 Corinthians 10:31). Some Christians misunderstand what it means to serve God.  They think they have to go to church a certain amount of times, be involved in it's activities as proof that they serve God.  Although, those are ways to serve, they are not exclusive.  For a Christian, there isn't a secular vs. sacred dichotomy. In other words, everything belongs to God, every aspect of our life and as such we either give Him glory with it or not.

These three things make up what it is to live for God.  This is the Gospel.  When we hear the Good News that Jesus died for our sins, we repent, commit ourselves to God and serve Him (we become his "doulos," slaves or servants).

We will not be perfect doing these three things but we don't make excuses. When we fail, we repent, commit ourselves to Him and serve Him. That's it! Simple!

The results? He can only bless you, even more!

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