Following God is seeking, hearing, and obeying the Spirit God gave us. We are to build the spiritual kingdom of God in ourselves and each other.
Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.
Mark 9:1 And He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power.”
Acts 11:23 When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.
1 John 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
3 John 1:11 Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God.
John 9:31 Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him.
Romans 8:27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
1 Corinthians 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
1 Corinthians 3:16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
1 Corinthians 8:3 But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him.
Galatians 4:8 [ Fears for the Church ] But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods.
Ephesians 3:19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Colossians 1:10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
Colossians 1:27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Titus 1:16 They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.
James 4:4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
2 Peter 1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,
1 John 2:5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.
1 John 46 We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. 7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
Our first step before anything else is learning to “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." This in an inward activity. The key word or term to understand is Love. Understanding the definition of the word does not mean we understand it's spiritual meaning and significance. Only through experience in it are we able to grow in our understanding of it. This is also the case with many other Godly attributes; forgiveness, mercy, patience, gentleness, generosity, perseverance, peace, compassion, kindness, faith, and hope.
The follow two sets of scriptures demonstrate how we ought to set our priorities. We are to listen, follow, and obey the spirit of God that is in us.
First Things First
Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
1 Kings 22:5 But Jehoshaphat also said to the king of Israel, “First seek the counsel of the Lord.”
2 Chronicles 18:4 But Jehoshaphat also said to the king of Israel, “First seek the counsel of the Lord.”
Follow the Spirit's guidance
Job 32:8 But it is the spirit in a person, the breath of the Almighty, that gives them understanding.
Proverbs 10:17 Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.
Proverbs 15:12 Mockers resent correction, so they avoid the wise.
1 Corinthians 6:17 But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.
Individually we are to engage, practice, learn with God, and each other. We can learn in our suffering and struggles. The pain may occur in our humbling of pride and conviction of sin. We all sin, so in seeking God it is natural and normal to feel convicted when we are doing wrong. Sinful thoughts come up, but what we do about it when they come up makes all the difference. We all make mistakes and we all get sinful thoughts. We are to increase our awareness of them, refocus them on God, one thought at a time, one day at a time. We are not perfect. However, we must not use our imperfection as an excuse not to seek growth in God.
It is a highly valuable thing to see which areas in our lives need to grow. Are we full of love, forgiveness, faith, hope, courage, self-discipline, mercy, humility, compassion, truth, sincerity, patience, understanding, gentleness, and generosity? If not, then we know we ought to place more emphasis, effort, and attention toward such principles.
When seeking God most of us set out to join some organization/church. It is highly important to understand these organizations are man made and man run. We ought to be very careful to maintain truth and integrity not letting ourselves be defiled by others ignorance. We often do not understand what we are doing. Most of us are followers going with the crowd. We follow man instead of God. We must always remember we are to seek first the counsel of the spirit within us in truth and love. Truth can be difficult within the political systems of religious organizations. Our journey is a spiritual one, not an institutional one. Do we grow the organization/church or grow the spirit of God?
Mark 7:7-9 7 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ 8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.” 9 And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!"
Deuteronomy 7:9 Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.
Sometimes the truth hurts and is convicting. We must not hide the truth to avoid discomfort. It ought to be spoken in love and others are to be rebuked gently, but they are still to be rebuked. In our conformists society we are pressured to avoid confrontation. Living as true believers we raised to lead others toward righteousness. Dishonesty and shrinking back is not part of our new way of life. We are to be bold.
Hebrews 4:12 "For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."
We are called to obey God. John 14:23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.
In order to obey God we need to understand what God's instructions are and in order to understand what God's instructions are we need to practice and participate in what the bible tells us to do. There are many things we cannot understand without experience. For example, marriage, sex, driving, college, old age, middle school, waiting in line for hours, etc. Following and obeying God is a progressive process starting with simple things and then building on those basic ideas.
For example: In Math we begin learning terms and pronunciation of vocabulary, move on into counting, then addition and subtraction followed by multiplication and division. We cannot start at multiplication. We need to get down basic terms and meanings like how to pronounce one and what it means. Then we move to two. We engage in the mental process of learning and practicing. The more we practice the better we get. We are assigned homework. We are created by God to learn information in this manner. There is an order to understanding and wisdom which requires effort, self discipline, and order. The bible is clear on order. Jesus says this is the greatest commandment. In math we understand what greatest means. It is the highest and most dominating of all. The symbol greater than/less than in math is '>.' The open mouth end is the greater side and the point end is the less side. Here are some examples of what this might mean.
Love God > my job, Love God > making other people happy, Love God > being to church on time, Love God > My wants,
Love God > my feelngs, Love God > others feelings and wants, Love God > memorizing verses, Love God > anything.
Who in their right mind will argue over 2 + 2 = 4. Someone will. Similarly someone will argue a reduced effort in loving God. We ought to get loving God right before we move into any other matter. Loving God ought to be the highest priority in church. It ought to be the most talked about aspect of every group until it becomes as automatic as breathing. What good is any believer of God if they can't even get down the greatest and most important aspect of following God? Everything develops from this central idea. Most of us will undergo a process of relearning, and that's okay. Priorities are important and making God our top priority ought to be our everyday goal. We can pray for his God's help in this.
First, we need to understand who God is and what he wants from us. If we know God is love, which is probably the most basic description of God, then we need to understand more about love and how to apply it in our lives. The bible is full of descriptions about these spiritual activities, love, patience, kindness, mercy, forgiveness, compassion, perseverance, self-discipline etc. These are key principles we need to study and experience. They are fruit of the spirit. They come to life from us as we move from selfishness into righteousness. By tapping into them within ourselves we improve our ability to sense the spirit in us.
Knowing God and experiencing God are different. Looking up love in a dictionary is much different then feeling it. If we know God then we are living our lives based on who he is and experiencing him.
1 John 4:7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
We are to search our hearts and seek God's character in everything we do (which we can do anywhere so 'no time' is no excuse). We are to know our thoughts and learn to improve them, be honest, seek truth in everything, live from our heart practice Godly principles, and build healthy relationships with others.
1 Corinthians 13:2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
God's love is an ongoing central component of the bible. God is love. His instructions and spirit guide and lead us in the direction of love and peace. Our selfishness and conforming to the ways of the world interfere with this process. God opposes the proud.
John 15:19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
Matthew 18:7 Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!
John 8:23 But he continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.
There is teaching about secular activities within religions. Secular means worldly or not part of religion. Please keep in mind the bible is not religion. Men interpret the bible and create an organization which becomes a religion. So when the bible refers to the world it may mean worldly or selfish behavior. Anyone who has attended church for a year and participated in religious activities can easily see worldly behavior exists within that religion. So when the bible refers to the world it refers to worldly activity, especially the worldly activity going on within the church. Just as we are to follow God into a holy way of righteous living we are to demonstrate and teach others within the religious bodies how to do so. If the leaders are sinning we ought to discuss it with them, but not alone.
1 Timothy 5:20 But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning.
2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.
Titus 1:10 For there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of the circumcision group. 11 They must be silenced, because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain. 12 One of Crete’s own prophets has said it: “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.” 13 This saying is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith 14 and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the merely human commands of those who reject the truth. 15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. 16 They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.
Matthew 18:15-18 Dealing With Sin in the Church
15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
18 “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
Jeremiah 5:3 Lord, do not your eyes look for truth? You struck them, but they felt no pain; you crushed them, but they refused correction. They made their faces harder than stone and refused to repent.
Proverbs 12:1 Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, But he who hates correction is stupid.
Proverbs 15:5 A fool spurns a parent’s discipline, but whoever heeds correction shows prudence.
Humility and being teachable is necessary, we are to seek God and surrender to God's will. If Love, mercy, forgiveness, truth, kindness, discipline, patience, hope, perseverance, endurance, compassion, and gentleness are good then what rational argument would we have to avoid them? If we are Christian then we live by them with increasing measure and progressive improvement. There is an inward authority we are to obey and follow.