What’s The Point Of Following God?

Faith Schiller, Associate Campus Pastor, Willow Online | May 20, 2024

See, I have taught you decrees and laws as the Lord my God commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to take possession of it. Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him?
Deuteronomy 4:5-7

For a long time, I was convinced that being a Christian was all about making sure I could get to Heaven someday. Every once in a while, I would re-pray the prayer to make sure I was still “in”. But from time to time, I would still become anxious or worried, not fully knowing what would happen when I die. That fear was deeply rooted in my weak understanding of what following Jesus actually means and promises. I thought trusting in God was all about believing the right things, and if I simply believed “right,” then I could go to heaven someday. 

While I still believe that putting trust in God brings the assurance of salvation, I have come to understand that the purpose of salvation and the reason we follow Jesus has less to do with getting to heaven someday and everything to do with how we live our lives here, today. In fact, when you read the scriptures,  you’ll see that very little focus was given to the notion of heaven; instead, God’s invitation to His people always focused on the way they loved Him and represented Him in the present. 

Following God is about pursuing the presence of God and reflecting His presence to the world around us. This means that how we live our lives actually has eternal significance! In Deuteronomy, God invites the brand new nation of Israel to consider how their individual lives and collective presence could impact the nations around them. Their invitation was not to keep God to themselves, but rather to share the impact of God with the world. And God was very specific about how they were supposed to do this. It wasn’t through preaching or requiring those around to believe the same things; the people of God were invited to allow others to witness their dedication to loving and following Him. 

I don’t know about you, but I spend a lot of time worrying about how to say the right thing so that others believe the same things I do. But when I read scripture like this, I wonder, is that really the point? Maybe following God is more about how I live my life and how I intentionally reflect God’s love and presence to those around me.

Next Steps

In what ways are you intentionally showing God’s love and presence to those around you? Do you spend more time talking about God or doing the things God has invited you into? Spend some time praying and ask God to help you honestly answer these questions.