I am not a good follower.
That is a hard thing to admit, but it is true. I have too many questions. I’ve been described as “needing to have all my ducks in a row” before I act. I want to calculate all possibilities and be prepared for anything. I want no surprises that had not been anticipated and thought through.
That is why it is so easy for me to follow God! Yes, there are times that I have my doubts and can’t see clearly, but I know that nothing catches God by surprise. I have confidence and faith in His ability to see yesterday, today, and tomorrow with the same degree of clarity. I have complete trust that if I listen to and obey Him completely, that He has my best interest in mind and each circumstance that I face while in obedience to Him is designed to “prosper not harm” me — even when I don’t see how at the moment.
As I think about this week’s study topic, “God Says I Am An Example”, I have to wonder how I’m doing at instilling that same faith and confidence in others as they watch me. Do people see me following God so closely that they wouldn’t hesitate to follow me? Does my leading show the same love, care, and concern for the welfare of others that God’s leading of me shows?
Monday’s text was taken from 1 Samuel 14 where we find the nation of Israel in dire straights. Israel’s army consisted of 600 men with two swords between them facing the Philistine army who had been oppressing the Israelites for quite some time. It is at this time that Jonathan, who has one of the two swords, decides something needs to be done. The cat and mouse game of being teased and destroyed needed to end.
So, Jonathan makes a decision to go over to the enemy outpost and asks his armor-bearer to go with him — an armor-bearer without a sword! Jonathan’s reasoning is quite simple and full of faith. “Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.” This is where it gets hard for me. It’s one thing for Jonathon to trust God and follow His leading. It is another thing entirely for the armor-bearer to trust Jonathon and follow his leading. I would be thinking, “Did you say ‘Perhaps!’?” But that is just what he does. I think his response says a lot more than first meets the eye. He says, “Do all that you have in mind. I am with you heart and soul.” The outcome is incredible. The two of them kill twenty of the enemy and it begins a panic that overcomes the entire Philistine army — “a panic sent by God”. Victory is won because Jonathon follows God and says to his armor-bearer, “Follow me”.
“I am with you heart and soul” speaks deeply into how Jonathon could say, “Follow me,” and get a positive response from his armor-bearer. The armor-bearer knew that Jonathon’s heart and soul was pursuing God. God says that you and I are an example to others. Our life calls out to people, “follow me”. What kind of response we get often depends on what kind of life we are living. I must constantly examine myself and see if I am living a life that “heart and soul” belongs to God. If I am following Him “heart and soul”, then logic would say that someone following me “heart and soul” would actually be following God “heart and soul” because that is what they are seeing in me.
I am an example! Am I a good example or bad? That depends on what I am pursuing with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength. If that sounds familiar, it should. God says all of that — all of me — belongs to Him.
I pray that as you and I live life, our example is pure because it flows from our heart and soul belonging completely to God.