Remember the school yard game “Follow the Leader?” Most everyone clamored to be the leader, including me. I recall the pressure to think up something interesting to do when it was my turn, a fun movement so the kids lined up behind me would enjoy following. Gee, there’s a lot of responsibility inherent in leading well and safely. Likewise, to be a good follower takes effort and concentrated attention. So I’m wondering…
Who are you following right now? I mean, whose advice matters when you make decisions? In other words, who are you hoping to please with your actions and how you live your life?
As summer stretches out before me with an array of possibilities, I’m asking myself these questions. Am I choosing to live for myself? My spouse? My children? For God? Or by default am I pleasing the enemy of my soul?
I don’t know about you, but when I stop and think about the sheer number of decisions I make every 24 hour period, I’m astounded. Many of my decisions seem trivial, like when to wake up, what to wear, what to eat, what to feed my family, what temperature to set the A/C, whether to exercise, what to focus on, etc., but they all have consequences. And when added together, they can feel overwhelming and reason enough to default to auto-pilot. Sometimes lethargy sets in and I don’t have the energy to change my direction or try new things.
Everyday life takes effort and intentionality as I navigate the demands and pressures of our society. Sometimes I wonder if I’m “settling” with some of the decisions I make, you know, not striving to be better or give my best. How often do I choose the easy way out, the path of least resistance? Am I missing incredible opportunities because I‘m short-sighted, or stuck in self-preservation mode?
Now you might be thinking enough with the questions already!
But that’s just my point. How often do we question our motivation for the things we do? If we don’t make time to stop and think about future outcomes, assessing the pattern of our lives, we can’t change our behavior. I need to make some health related changes, and some financial ones too; but if I don’t take time to evaluate my present reality and make a plan, I’ll soon forget my hopeful dreams of improvement. Anyone with me?
Consequently I’m reminded of this very important truth: God has set before me life or death, obedience or rebellion, His way or my own. Am I making a conscious choice to follow Him in my day-to-day decisions? My spirit longs to follow, but my tendency to settle for the status quo can be a huge obstacle. Jesus told his disciples that to follow Him meant walking through a narrow gate and choosing a difficult road (Matthew 7:13).
Righteous living doesn’t just happen, especially if we are doing circles in the cul-de-sac of self-centeredness. If we unconsciously adopt worldly attitudes and behavior, we’ll find ourselves veering down the broad highway that leads to destruction. Choose this day whom you will serve, enter God’s Kingdom through the narrow gate which is trust in Jesus Christ, and live well.