Day 17: Following God into the Future #28DayChallenge

The future: that imaginary place where all our problems are solved and our dreams are fulfilled. The younger we are, the more excited we are about the future. It holds so much promise and possibility that we can barely wait to get there. We make plans and write lists and take steps to get to the future we imagine. And as the future unravels, beginning with the next moment after our dreams and plans, it brings questions, choices, and uncertainties – things we did not plan for or expect. None of us knows what lies ahead of us.

Yet the Almighty God knows what is in our future. He knows all the possibilities that lie ahead of us and the outcomes that correspond to every set of choices or decisions we make. He sees the myriad of possible outcomes for every phase of our lives, including those outcomes we could never imagine or would rather not imagine. With that infinite wisdom, He asks us to follow and obey Him. God clearly indicates in the Bible that he wants to lead us (Psa. 32:8). He wants to achieve the best outcome possible with our lives but we will have to trust and follow Him.

Following God into the future means entrusting our plans to God (Prov. 3:5-6) and depending on Him for guidance. It means committing every thought, plan, or course of action to God in prayer, and being willing to change if we perceive that God wants us to do something differently. Following God calls for faith and humility. We have to be convinced God has a plan for our lives and that our efforts are not enough to live a life of purpose. He alone can guide us to live our best lives here on earth.

Approaching life with this mentality, however, can be challenging. It does not shield us from trials, difficulties, or pain. In fact, following God is often marked with difficult emotional experiences such as fear, anger, sadness, frustration, or anxiety. Many who followed God have experienced rejection, persecution, and loneliness. Some had the option to avoid some of these experiences by taking alternative routes or going their own way. Others had no choice and would have had similar experiences had they gone their own way.

However, the beauty of following God is that He walks with us through those experiences. He transforms our minds using His Word and teaches us how to remain joyful amid sorrow, peaceful during a storm, and loving even when subjected to hatred or wicked treatment. Another benefit of following God is that we avoid costly mistakes and unnecessary battles that could drain us of energy as we run to fulfill our purpose. Most importantly, we live to fulfill the design of God for our lives when we choose to follow God.

The future is always bright and beautiful, no matter what phase of life you are in. Of course, it is never lacking in challenges. This is why God wants you to be deliberate in walking with Him, so that He can lead you to lead an eternally impactful life that maximizes your potentials and fulfills His purpose for your life. My prayer is that you will choose to follow Him every day. Amen.

Compelled by the Spirit

“And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. Acts 20:22 (NIV)

Have you ever gone to a place solely on account of God’s will? Or maybe taken a decision only because you were persuaded it was what God wanted? An action without benefit or profit for you, one that you have to take at great risk to your life or possessions – would you ever take that kind of action? This is what we hear Paul say in the verse above. Let’s look a little closer…

Paul was bidding the elders of the Ephesian church farewell. Convinced he would never see them again, he gave them parting words, sharing his commitment to preaching the gospel as he went from place to place. Although he lived with a lot of uncertainties, Paul knew one thing was sure – prison and hardships awaited him as he spread the gospel. Yet he was was unwavering. He was set for the defence of the gospel, willing to complete his God-given task at any cost.

Just like his master Jesus, Paul was headed to Jerusalem, knowing the danger that awaited him there, but convinced that he was being led there by God in fulfillment of purpose. He was ready to embrace pain, hardship or even death, that could become his fate as he headed to Jerusalem. He no longer counted his life dear to himself neither did he strive to preserve it – he only lived to obey the Lord’s command and follow his bidding. Like Jesus, Paul was sold out to God – a willing slave.

The lesson is clear; the application is challenging; the demand, unwavering. God wants our all – a total commitment to obeying his commands and doing his will regardless of the cost to us. Although He works with us at every stage to accomplish his purpose, God always desires for us to become more yielded by the day, letting go of everything until like Paul, we too can say, with full devotion and complete sincerity: “I consider my life worth nothing to me”.

Then Paul answered, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” Acts 21:13 (NIV)

Further Reading: Acts 20:17-24, 21:10-14