WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JULY 3RD, 2021
TOPIC: NEVER STOP FOLLOWING THE LORD
BY T. O. BANSO
“Then the people answered, ‘We will never stop following the LORD to serve other gods!’” (Joshua 24:16 New Century Version).
Nobody can serve two masters. One cannot serve God and mammon at the same time (Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:13). It is either you’re following the Lord or you’re not following Him. That’s why in Joshua 24:15, Joshua told the Israelites to choose whom they wanted to serve – God or other gods.
Elijah said the same thing. “And Elijah came to all the people, and said ‘How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him’” (1 Kings 18:21a New King James Version). The people didn’t give him any answer. If you’ve chosen to follow the Lord, never stop following Him, no matter what.
Before Joshua died, the Israelites assured him that they would never stop serving the LORD. “Then the people answered, ‘We will never stop following the LORD to serve other gods!’” (Joshua 24:16 New Century Version). The Bible says, “Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had known all the works of the LORD which He had done for Israel” (Joshua 24:31 New King James Version). Judges 2:7 says a similar thing.
Serving the Lord is supposed to be continuous. It is not something one should do for a season and discontinue. But Judges 2:10 says the generation of Joshua had died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the LORD or remember the mighty things he had done for Israel.
Consequently, the Israelites did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and worshipped the images of Baal, abandoning the LORD, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt (verses 11-12). The Israelites stopped following the LORD contrary to the promise the leaders had made to Joshua. They forsook Him and served foreign gods (Judges 10:6; 2 Kings 17:16).
Never stop following the Lord. Jesus said if anyone desired to come after Him, he should deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Him. (Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23). Jesus told everyone He invited to be His disciples or came to Him to follow Him (Matthew 4:19; 8:22; 9:9; 19:21; Mark 1:17; 2:14; 10:21; Luke 5:27;18:22; John 1:43, 21:19). Jesus said in John 10:27, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (New King James Version). Are you following the Lord? If you are, never stop following Him.
Earlier in the ministry of Jesus, the Bible records that because of His teachings, many of His disciples stopped following Him (John 6:66). They considered his teaching on eating His flesh and drinking His blood too hard to understand (verse 60). They misunderstood Him. Jesus wasn’t encouraging cannibalism.
After these disciples had left Him, Jesus didn’t beg the other twelve disciples not to go. Rather, He asked them if they wanted to go away too. But Peter answered, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (John 6:68-69 New King James Version). Keep following the Lord even if others turn back. Even if your pastor, friends, or neighbours stop following the Lord, never stop. Keep following the Lord.
After His resurrection, Jesus told Peter what would happen to him in his old age– how he would die. Then, Jesus told him to follow Him (John 21:18-19). But Peter asked him what would happen to another disciple, the disciple whom Jesus loved. Jesus told Peter, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me” (John 21:21 New King James Version). Jesus, in other words, told Peter to mind his business! Each person must follow the Lord and not make a decision based on what another person does.
The rich young ruler couldn’t follow Jesus because he considered the price to pay too high. He couldn’t go and sell all his property, give the money to the poor, and come to follow Jesus, as Jesus had told him (Luke 18:18-23; Matthew 19:16-22; Mark 10:17-22). Follow the Lord; never stop following Him.
David followed the LORD, but sadly, his son, Solomon, didn’t fully follow Him. 1 Kings 11:6-8 says, “Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not fully follow the LORD, as did his father David. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, on the hill that is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the abomination of the people of Ammon. And he did likewise for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods” (New King James Version).
Consequently, the LORD was angry with him – someone who had the privilege of God appearing to him twice! Disobeying God’s command to Israelites not to marry foreign wives was his undoing. When Solomon was old, his foreign wives turned his heart after other gods. His heart was no longer loyal to the LORD his God, as was the heart of his father David (verse 4).
Never stop following the Lord. Jeremiah 10:21 says, “The shepherds of my people have lost their senses. They no longer follow the LORD or ask what he wants of them” (New Living Translation).
The Bible says that Demas, an associate of Paul, loved the world and forsook Paul (2 Timothy 4:10). That means he also forsook the LORD because you can’t love the world and love the LORD at the same time. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him (1 John 2:15).
To stop following the LORD is to forsake Him. Jeremiah 2:19 says it is a bitter thing to forsake the LORD. Joshua warned the Israelites, “If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you, after He has done you good” (Joshua 24:20 New King James Version).
The Bible says those who forsake the LORD shall be consumed (Isaiah 1:28b). Never stop following the Lord. Jesus says, “If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor” (John 12:26 New King James Version). Jesus has gone to prepare a place for His followers so that they would be with Him where He is (John 14:2).
How not to stop following the LORD
1. Love the Lord with all your heart and soul. It is not enough to be born again; you must love the Lord completely with all your being (Deuteronomy 6:13;11:1,13; Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30). You must seek first the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33). If you’re not yet born again, first accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour.
2. Fellowship with the Lord. Fellowship with the Holy Spirit and the Word of God daily. Study the Bible, read Bible-based books, listen to messages on tapes or video. Through that God will transform you by changing the way you think – transform you by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2).
3. Obey the Lord completely. Obey the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. Disobedience to the Lord shows you’re not following Him. Jesus says, “You are truly my disciples if you keep obeying my teachings” (John 8:31 New Living Translation). He also says, “If you love me, obey my commandments” (John 14:15 New Living Translation).
4. Continuously walk in faith. In other words, put your trust in the Lord. Hebrews 11:6 says without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Proverbs 3:5 says you should trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your path (verse 6).
5. Repent promptly and respond to God’s discipline or correction. Proverbs 15:5 says only a fool despises a parent’s discipline; whoever learns from correction is wise. “If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children after all. Since we respect our earthly fathers who disciplined us, should we not all the more cheerfully submit to the discipline of our heavenly Father and live forever?” (Hebrews 12:8-9 New Living Translation).
Repent promptly and respond to God’s discipline or correction. If you confess your sins, God is faithful and righteous to forgive you your sins and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
6. Be involved in Kingdom service. Faithfully serve the LORD with your gifts, time, money, and other resources. Serve the LORD with gladness and enthusiastically; serve with humility, willingly, eagerly, and in holiness (Psalm 100:2; Romans 12:11; Acts 20:19).
7. Walk in love with others. Don’t let your relationship with others stop you from following the Lord. Ephesians 5:2 says we you should walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. Love is the fulfillment of the law (Romans 13:10). Live in peace with everyone (Hebrews 12:14). Romans 12:18 says if it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
8. Endure sufferings. Don’t let afflictions, persecutions, delayed answers to prayers, etc. stop you from following the Lord. “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:3 New King James Version). Be patient. Jesus says in the world His followers will have tribulation; but they should be of good cheer, He has overcome the world (John 16:33b).
Endure sufferings while you trust God for your deliverance. Whoever endures to the end shall be saved (Matthew 10:22b; 24:13; Mark 13:13b). We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22b).
Never stop following the Lord.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: I will never stop following the LORD and serve other gods in Jesus’ name. Holy Spirit, help me to follow the Lord all the days of my life. No tribulation shall stop me from entering the kingdom of God. I receive the grace to endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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