My husband and I chuckled as one of the kids tried to go straight when the line of children was supposed to turn. All the other kids happily followed right behind the wayward child, figuring he knew what he was doing. One of the leaders saw the problem and tried to redirect him, but by then the whole line was going off course. My husband and I thought it was hilarious. Kids are always so much cuter when you are not the one responsible for them, aren't they? :) Somehow the leader managed to turn them all back around and get them going in the right direction until they ended up on the stage.
We sometimes act like those adorable children, don't we? We get all dressed up and get into line, figuring the people ahead of us know what they are doing. He looks like he knows what he's doing, so I will just follow him....only to find out that the guy we were following only LOOKED like he knew what he was doing.
Who do you follow? You are following someone, whether you like it or not. Your thoughts are not original. Mine aren't either. I'm not trying to call you out. I am just saying, "there is nothing new under the sun." The stuff that you come up with that you thought was extraordinary...chances are good that you didn't come up with it. You just forgot where you got it from. :) You probably heard something somewhere and it sounded right to you, and it is just finally sinking in now.
Be careful who you follow. Know what the Bible says. Do you know what the Bible says about following other people who look like they know what they are doing? The Bible actually says A LOT about this issue, which lets me know that it IS a struggle for humans. Why else would God choose to hit on this topic over and over and over again? Allow me to share a handful of verses with you that speak on the concept of knowing what the Bible says and measuring what you hear from the people around you against what the TRUTH (the Bible) says.
VERSES FROM THE BIBLE...
"Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world." (1 John 4:1)A STORY FROM THE BIBLE... Numbers 13:1-14:45 tells of a story in the Bible of a time when God told Moses to send 12 spies to the land that God had promised them... Canaan. After spying for forty days, the spies were to bring back food from the land and report on what they saw.
"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves." (Matthew 7:15)
"The old prophet answered, "I too am a prophet, as you are. And an angel said to me by the word of the LORD: 'Bring him back with you to your house so that he may eat bread and drink water.'" (But he was lying to him.) (1 King 13:18)
"This is what the LORD Almighty says: "Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD." (Jeremiah 23:16)
"and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people." (Matthew 24:11)
"For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect--if that were possible." (Matthew 24:24)
"I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them." (Romans 16:17)
When Moses sent them to explore Canaan, he said, “Go up through the Negev and on into the hill country. See what the land is like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. What kind of land do they live in? Is it good or bad? What kind of towns do they live in? Are they unwalled or fortified? How is the soil? Is it fertile or poor? Are there trees in it or not? Do your best to bring back some of the fruit of the land.” (It was the season for the first ripe grapes.) (verses 17-20)
The spies came back from their excursion and went to Moses and Aaron and everyone else and showed them the fruit. The spies said, "We went where you told us to go. There were rivers of milk and honey and here's some fruit we found. But the people who live there are strong and the cities are surrounded by walls. Our enemies are all over the place in that land."
Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” (verse 30)
But the other spies spoke evil words. "No way!" they said. "They're stronger than us. That land eats people. And we saw people there that were so tall that we were like grasshoppers to them."
All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness! Why is the LORD bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.” (Numbers 14:2-4)
Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces in front of everyone.
Joshua and Caleb tore up their clothes and said,
“The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the LORD is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them.” (Numbers 14: 7-9)
But the people wanted to kill Joshua and Caleb with rocks.
God's analysis, and the outcome from all of this...Only Caleb and Joshua got to go to the land where there are rivers of milk and honey. The kids will get there, too. (God's grace in action)
So tell them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the LORD, I will do to you the very thing I heard you say: In this wilderness your bodies will fall—every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me. Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. As for your children that you said would be taken as plunder, I will bring them in to enjoy the land you have rejected. (verses 28-30)
And all the spies who lied about the land got a plague and died after 40 years of wandering in the land they said they would rather stay in.
WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM THIS STORY...
When God speaks, we ought to listen. It is not uncommon to let your fears and anxieties take over until you are no longer acting out of your faith anymore. To cower back to your old ways of bondage and live a life in disappointment and shame is "normal." The crowd chose to agree with the majority who said, "this is TOO hard for us! Let's just go back to what we know."
God had GREAT things in store for them, if they just would have trusted him!
What amazing things do we forfeit when we choose to grab hold of what we think we want rather than stepping out in faith to see what God has for us that is better? You won't know until you step out in faith! Do not get side-tracked, bogged down, and caught up in your own selfish desires and insecurities. God has more for you than that. When you step out in faith, you step away from the thing that was holding you captive and say, "GOD, you are BIGGER than this thing!" Blessings are just around the corner. Hold on tight. It's about to get exciting! :)
1. Who are you following?
2. Who are you leading?
3. Does answering those two questions provoke a nudge of conviction in you?
If your answer to number 3 is yes, please pray and seek where God is at work in your heart and in your life.
"A thousand people wait on the other side of your obedience." -Susie Larson
I want so much to be on the receiving end of your blessings. I want to be strong in my faith. I want to be the kind of person who reports back to the crowd, "WE can DO THIS! God said we can; therefore, WE CAN. Period." I'm sorry, Lord, for the times I have shrunk back and allowed others to bring my faith down because of their lack of faith. Help me to see the truth around me. Give me holy discernment, that allows me to know when the things I am hearing are not from you. I will take you at your word, Lord, and trust you to be who you say you are, and I will choose to trust that you can do what you say you will do. I'm all yours Lord. Make my life a testimony of your strength, power and victory. Amen.