I want to follow God anywhere and everywhere. I want to be dedicated and walk with Him hand in hand all day. It sounds ideal and it is feasible. Do I do it every day? I do what I can. Some days are easier than others but knowing how amazing and how good the Lord is, it is hard for me to stay away from Him for long or to disconnect from Him. When the world becomes overwhelming and I am more influenced or impacted by the world, I know that something is wrong. People talk about balance. In this case I don’t believe in balance. I believe the scale should tilt in God’s direction. The scale should indicate that we are more of God than the world. We are vessels and we can be filled with God or with the world. We are filled with both. The question is, what is dominant in our lives? We are vessels that sail on the sea of the world and we hit icebergs and obstacles that give us holes and the sea of the world starts drowning us on the inside. We can’t stay afloat because the weight of the world is too much. However, we can stay in the Lord and we can be filled with more of Him when we make a conscious effort to stay in Him. Today I want to talk about staying filled with God, remaining in Him and following Him all day.
I love how Jesus declared “Remain in Me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me.”* His encouragement is very powerful. He is not telling us to do something impossible. We can remain in Him. The key is to find all the strategies and techniques that allow us to stay in Him. As soon as we leave our prayer time in the morning, the world is ready to assail us and to take over our attention. I wish I could stay in my prayer closet all day but it is not physically possible. What I can do is stay in prayer throughout the day by doing a series of things that keep me in prayer. I first had to remind myself for a while that the Lord heard the prayers of the heart and I didn’t have to say anything out loud for me to be heard. I have inner prayers throughout the day. What is the connection between prayer and following God? The obvious answer is that Jesus prayed when He was on earth and He says we should pray. We should pray without ceasing. When we are in prayer, we are very aware of God’s presence. Prayer is communicating with God and it means that He talks to us as well. It’s a two-way street. When we pray throughout the day, we get messages, bits of information and comforting words. I have found that my inner prayers give me inner strength and they calm me down when I need it. They alert me to what the Lord wants me to do and I can follow His directions when I am tuned in. To be tuned in, it is important to have frequent prayer sessions. Find the best way you can have those recurring inner prayers and you will see how much easier it is to follow God.
Following God implies letting Him lead the way. We can’t follow someone who is behind us. We need to put ourselves in the position of the follower and trust that God knows where He is taking us and that He is a perfect leader. I have to admit that sometimes I get ahead of God and I act as if He should be following me. I fall flat on my face and realize that I can’t be in control. I am a follower and He is the head. We, Christians are part of the body but we can’t keep acting like the head. We have a role to play and when we wait for directions faithfully and act on them, we fulfill our part. I have noticed that what we see, what we hear, what we say and what we feel can interfere with our following the Lord. We can’t help most of those things but we can prevent them or we can react to them with God’s help. I try to see the Word as much as I can. I try to avoid any tv shows or tv programs that can hinder my faith or that can stall my walk with the Lord. I also make sure I read things that are connecting me to God. I would say we need to choose what we hear and see carefully and that includes music. Some songs are derailments and hurdles that prevent us from following God because they get to our core and churn emotions and feelings that dissociate us from God. Choose the music you listen to wisely and make that a strategy that helps you follow the Lord.
Another powerful strategy is to contradict the world all day long. Whatever is negative and bad, can be very counterproductive to your walk with God. When you hear pessimism and negative ideas and thoughts, contradict them and challenge them with God’s Word. For every negative word, say two or three positive words. For every ounce of doubt, add a pound of faith and hope. Refuse to agree with all the negativity. Be the voice of positivity. Be a voice for the Lord. Be the voice of hope you are designed to be. The Lord is the vine and we are the branches. Let’s be the strong branches that can uphold the hope of the Lord wherever we go and walk in love every day. That is the best way to follow God!
Suggested reading: *John 15:4-5; Galatians 2:20; 1 John 2:6