Meanderings of a Minister


Followers of God or Followers of Men?
September 5, 2013, 9:34 pm
Filed under: Articles, Book Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Followers of God

A couple of years ago I published a Bible study book with the same title as this article.  The study involved looking at the Old Testament history found in 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, and 1 & 2 Chronicles.  The book was basically a series of questions designed to get people to read the Bible, consider what they had read, think about how it fit together with the rest of scripture, and figure out how to apply it to their lives right in that moment.  I call it a contemplative study.  The main struggle of the Israelites during this time period was whether they were going to follow and obey God or whether they wanted to be just like everyone else.

As I think about this question, I see that we are faced with the same situation every day.  Kids face it at school when they decide whether to give in to peer pressure and drink, try drugs, or have sex.  Young adults face it every day as well when they have to decide if they are going to follow God or have sex, move in with their current boyfriend or girlfriend, or go into debt or not.  Middle adults face it.  Senior adults face it.  The struggle never really goes away.

While the struggle never really goes away, it does not always have to be the struggle it is right now.  1 Corinthians 10:13 says God will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able, but will provide a way of escape.  The problem is that sin is fun.  Temptation is attractive.  Moral danger is alluring.  So how do we fight it and how do we find the way of escape?

For some, the answer is quite simple.  Paul told Timothy to flee temptation.  We should do the same.  Like Joseph in the Bible, we should realize that to sin would be to go against the God that is taking care of us and loves us and sent His Son to die for us and we should run away.  Like David in the cave, we should resist and refuse to give in, even to our well-meaning friends that want us to sin. 

But what do I do when I can’t flee?  That is a great question and one that deserves more of an answer than I have time to deal with in a newspaper article, but I will try. First, I need to decide of I can’t flee or I won’t flee.  There is an incredible chasm of difference.  Sometimes I won’t flee because I might lose a friendship, it might cost more than I am willing to pay, or it might make me more uncomfortable than I want to be.  That is not can’t, but won’t.

If you can’t flee, then there is a number of things you can do.  First, like Jesus, we can respond with, “For it is written…”  David wrote that he wanted to hide God’s Word in his heart that he might not sin against God.  When you have been working to memorize scriptures, it can often be these scriptures that help you to fend off the attack of the moment.  Additionally, you can, like Paul instructed, to pray without ceasing.  Now, that does not mean to stop, close your eyes, fold your hands and pray, especially if you are driving at the time.  It simply means to start talking to God about the temptation you are facing.  Additionally, you can train your eyes to move away from the temptation.  Like Job, you can make a covenant with your eyes not to look on the temptation if at all possible.  Lastly, you can talk to yourself.  Yes, you can talk to yourself.  Remind yourself of the verses you know, the God you love, the life you have been called to live, and the blessings you have been given.  Sometimes the sound of your voice can help to break the power of the moment.

Now that you know how, will you be a Follower of God or a Follower of Men?

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