“You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him.”
John 3:16 is the most famous verse in the Bible because in twenty-five words it captures the entire message of Scripture; there is a loving God who will freely give eternal life to all who believe in His Son Jesus Christ. Deuteronomy 13:4 is similar in that its twenty-eight words capture so much of what it means to walk with with God. Moses gives six steps that will lead to success in following Christ.
“You shall walk after the Lord your God . . . ”
The first step in following Christ is following. In other words, we need to go where he is going. Too many believers fail because they continue to go where God is not going. We often hear of college students who attend fraternity parties where drinking and other activities are rampant. They convince themselves they will attend and not participate, but not long after, the pressure of the crowd become too great to resist. We hear of married men who spend too much time with a co-worker, establishing an unhealthy relationship which leads to a weak moment, devastating a marriage and a family. Remember, these things and others like them, can be avoided if we walk where He is walking.
“. . .fear Him . . .”
Fear is often looked at as a negative emotion. We learn early in life, if we are to succeed at anything, we must overcome our fears. There is, however, a healthy side to fear. Being afraid of falling will cause us to be more cautious when climbing, being afraid of illness will help us to avoid certain foods when traveling, and having a healthy fear of God, will cause us to avoid practicing things He has forbidden. This kind of fear is the fear of relationship. We do not want to disappoint the One who loves us so much and has given all, that we might be saved. Instead of viewing factors and circumstances as whether or not they will bring us pleasure, we should view them as whether or not they please God.
“. . . keep His commandments . . .”
The surest way to success, in our walk with Christ, is to read the Bible and do what it says. The Bible is designed, not only to guide our lives, but to redirect us when we get off course. The surest way to stumble, is to either ignore the Bible completely, or to read without action. We should consult the Word daily, allowing it to cast light unto our thinking, our behaviors, and our way of life.
“. . . obey His voice . . .”
One of the great benefits of being in a relationship with God is that He will speak to us. When Elijah fled to the caves of Mount Horeb, he heard God speak to him in a quiet voice. It seems God is still in the practice of speaking to His children in a quiet voice. I have found, He will prompt me to send a text to someone out of the blue, only to find it was an opportune moment for ministry. I have learned, His voice of warning is to be heeded, as He has prepared me in advance, for what is coming. Be quick to listen to the quiet voice of God.
“. . . you shall serve Him . . .”
Just yesterday, a woman approached me and said, “I have become so confident in who I am in Christ since I began to serve Him”. Service makes us defendant upon the Lord, and that dependence leads to getting to know Him at a deeper level. One of the surest ways to get in a spiritual rut is to fail to have an outlet of ministry. No matter what your comfort level might be, get involved in your local church. Listen to the needs that are presented and commit your time, efforts, and energy to serve. You will find your relationship with Christ will explode.
“. . . hold fast to Him . . .”
Ever heard the phrase, “hold on, it’s going to be a bumpy ride”? Well, following Christ can be like that. We must cling to the Lord in times of darkness or difficulty. Instead of allowing hard times to cause us to accuse God of wrong, we should use those times to cling to Him, find His strength, and learn His ways. Some of the greatest stories in Scripture happened with the darkest of backdrops.