It’s 6 am, and the alarm clock goes off. Another day of work begins, as many roll out of bed and get their day started. From the moment we wake up, to the second we close our eyes to sleep at night, we have decisions to make and a road to follow. If we have chosen to follow God, then He has given us clear directions for our lives. We don’t have to guess or wonder what course to take. His word “is a lamp to [our] feet and a light to [our] path” (Psalm 119:105), especially if we have a love relationship with Him. Following God is the best decision we can make, as He will show us how to live rich, joy-filled and contented lives. When we don’t follow Him, He also lays out the consequences of our sin. To avoid unnecessary failures, our attitude should always be, “where he leads, I will follow.” The decision to follow God will lead us on an exciting journey—an adventure of thrills, when we are willing to listen and obey His directions. The Bible is full of important and life-giving Scriptures, but here are the top 7 verses about following God.
Leviticus 18:4, “You shall follow my rules and keep my statutes and walk in them. I am the LORD your God.”
In this passage, God was teaching the Israelites what to do when they entered the Promised Land. They were not to worship idols or do what the surrounding nations were doing…they were to keep themselves holy and set apart and follow God’s decrees. Then He would bless them and their future generations. Moses was a man who learned the hard way to follow God. He tried to do things his way, but that only led to the death of an Egyptian man and 40 years of seclusion and exile in the dessert. Thankfully, God did not give up on Moses, and eventually he called him via a burning bush to not only return to Egypt but to actually save the Israelite nation from slavery. After their deliverance, Moses was given a clear set of guidelines and rules for the children of Israel to follow, so that they would be blessed and live in freedom once again. In Deuteronomy 5, Moses reminds the children of Israel that they should learn God’s laws and be sure to follow them. This decision would lead them into a loving relationship with Jehovah God. The Lord clearly wanted them to be successful, so He encouraged them to avoid being “people pleasers” or follow the wrong crowd. In order to be blessed by God, they needed to follow Him first and only.
Ruth 1:16, “But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.”
Ruth’s story is an amazing one, as she chose to follow her ex-mother-in-law, Naomi, to a foreign land during a time of extreme sadness in her life. When faced with the devastating loss of her husband, she could have stayed among her own people to seek comfort and provision. However, she not only followed Naomi, but she also chose to embrace the God of Israel. Ruth had a loving relationship with her mother-in-law, and she had probably heard about Naomi’s powerful God. So she decided to bless her mother-in-law, and in turn she was blessed by making the most important decision of her life—she chose to follow God. As a result of this famous decision, she became King David’s grandmother and part of the lineage of Jesus Christ, the Messiah.
Joshua 22:29, “Far be it from us that we should rebel against the LORD and turn away this day from following the LORD by building an altar for burnt offering, grain offering, or sacrifice, other than the altar of the LORD our God that stands before his tabernacle!”
These words are important, because representatives spoke them from the tribes of Rueben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh after they returned home from helping Joshua conquer most of the Promised Land. They had built a giant altar near the Jordan River on their return home, but when the other Israelites heard about it they wanted to attack them for it. These three tribes are responding to the accusations against them, and they explain that they definitely want to follow God. They explain that they only built the altar as a reminder of the pact between all of the tribes of Israel—those on the west and on the east side of the Jordan River—but that they would never use it for offerings or sacrifices. Their hearts were set on worshipping God in the tabernacle, and following God’s decrees for them. They had a strong love for God and a powerful bond with the other tribes of Israel, so these relationships kept them from rebelling against the Lord. These tribes had made a choice to follow God no matter what, and they were determined to stay the course.
2 Chronicles 34:33, “And Josiah took away all the abominations from all the territory that belonged to the people of Israel and made all who were present in Israel serve the LORD their God. All his days they did not turn away from following the LORD, the God of their fathers.”
Josiah became king of Judah when he was only eight years old, because his father, Amon, did evil in the sight of the Lord and was killed after only reigning for two years in Jerusalem. His story is an important one, because from the beginning of his reign, Josiah chose to follow God. He cleansed the land of idols, and the word says that “…while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his father David” (2 Chronicles 34: 3). Josiah had a choice…he could follow his father Amon’s evil example or he could obey the Lord and follow Him. It is apparent that his heart was turned towards God, and he developed a relationship with those who loved the Lord. Because of his good choice, the people of the Kingdom of Judah also followed the Lord and were blessed.
Matt. 16:24, “Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
In this passage, Jesus is starting to prepare the disciples for his upcoming death, but he is also reminding them that they need to follow him no matter what happens. It is interesting to me that Jesus mentions three important things to his followers. First of all, he tells them that they need to deny themselves, next “take up [their] cross,” and then follow him. At this point, the disciples did not know that Jesus would die on a cross, so it is a prophetic word about what was soon to come. Jesus loved God, and he had a powerful relationship with His heavenly Father. So he was following God’s directions when he went to the cross. Likewise, we also need to love the Lord, exercise self-discipline, and “deny” ourselves anything that would separate us from following Him. In other words, we need to be willing to “die” to anything that would keep us from staying the course.
John 10:4 “When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.”
The disciple, John, is often referred to as the “disciple that Jesus loved,” and in his book he explains that Jesus is our good shepherd. Jesus is our leader and friend, and we are like the sheep that live with the shepherd and learn to recognize his voice. So when He calls, leads, or moves, the sheep go where they are led. Likewise, if we love Him, we need to draw near to the Lord and “live” with Him, so that we can build a relationship with Him and learn to recognize His voice. It is our decision whether we follow Him or not, but His call is one of hope and love.
John 8:12 “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’”
This is a great verse spoken by Jesus, as He is declaring here that He is the light of the world. The earth is often a very difficult and dark place, and many people struggle to survive the challenges they face on a daily basis. As Christians, though, our lives are filled with much more optimism and opportunity. Those who listened to Jesus’ voice in New Testament times and those of us who “listen” to him now, get to chose between following the “light” of the Lord or walking in the “darkness” of the world. We have a decision to make—one will give us life, hope and joy in our lives—but the other will lead to pain, suffering, and difficulties. Jesus is the only one that offers us a love relationship and an abundant life.
Following God—two words that sound easy but in actuality can be very difficult to carry out. In the Old Testament, God gave the law as a roadmap to help mankind come to Him. His desire was always to show humanity the route to pursue Him that was best for us. The Bible states that God is love (1 John 4:8), so when we follow the way of love we are actually choosing God’s laws and ways. Jesus, His son, led by example, and He lived out loud the law that was given by His father. There was the written word before Jesus came, but then He was born and became the living law. Each of these seven passages is a plea for us to follow God as well. Loving and developing a relationship with the triune God, will bring us indescribable joy, blessings and “life” that comes from going where God leads us. Our lives are full of choices, so what decision will you make today?
Article by Karla Hawkins
God has been good to me over the years, and I have so much to be grateful for to Him. First of all, I feel blessed to be the pastor’s wife of a thriving church in northern Michigan and the mother of four amazing grown children. It is also very rewarding to be a Christian author, editor and translator for the Kingdom of God. Some of my favorite pastimes include supporting my children’s contemporary Christian band ONLY9AM, singing on the worship team at church, traveling, and connecting with family and friends via social media. My favorite song this summer has been “You Make Me Brave” by Amanda Cook from Bethel Church, as God has been stretching my faith and walk with Him in new ways recently. When I am not working, I love spending time with my family and especially with my precious three-year-old grandson.