Published May 10, 2016

Paul's Epistle
"Following..."

Have you noticed? God doesn't always show us "chapter and verse" about His specific will for our lives as we look ahead. And that can be frustrating.

       Sometimes we pray that God will show us the way.
       Sometimes we pray that God will lead us.

Those two things seem to be the same. But, on reflection, perhaps not.

Asking to be shown the way seems to indicate that, if granted, we would immediately "see" the broad picture of what God has in store for us, even the specifics. Yes, occasionally He does that. But usually He doesn't. Usually He prefers to lead us step-by-step and we can see only that next step that He's showing us – but not the ultimate outcome.

Here's the difference. Imagine a father pointing down the street and telling a child, "Go down there three blocks, turn left for two blocks, then go to the third house on the right." That's one approach. Another would be for the father to take the child's hand and say, "Come on, follow me, I'll lead you there."

Many times, that's how the Lord chooses to direct us – through our willingness, though faith, to follow Him as He leads on a daily basis.

Often in Scripture, the Lord says to someone, "Follow Me." In Matthew 4, Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee and saw brothers Simon (Peter) and Andrew fishing. The Lord said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." He used these words to recruit other disciples, as well.

But His words are for us, too. The Lord said, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me" (John 10:27). And, "If any man serve me, let him follow me..." (John 12:26). He is, after all, the "Way" (John 14:6).

We are to follow the Lord's leading. We get in trouble when we try to run out ahead of Him.

No, it's not always easy. It's not our nature. You might be a "planner" – you want every detail worked out in your mind in advance. (I confess, I usually prefer that approach, to which Shelia can attest.) But where's the faith in that?

When I started The Gospel Greats program many years ago, I had no idea what a ministry tool it would develop into over the years – especially in recent years as we realize how short the time is and how urgent the need is to get the Gospel out there in a compelling way.

But now, in retrospect, the picture is clearer. God has led us to where we are today (wherever that is), and we have to believe that it's where He wants us to be. And he's confirmed that many times and in many ways.

If we allow the Lord to lead us and guide us – as we follow Him in faith and not try to run out ahead on our own – then, and only then, do we eventually see the more complete picture of where He's been leading us all the while.

And even that confirms, once again, that to do His will we simply must follow Him.

- Paul

Comments on this? paul@thegospelgreats.com

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