I was reading my Bible one ordinary day this past winter when I came upon words that were pure gold on the sacred page. I discovered a particular verse that literally jumped off of the page and landed deeply in the recesses of my heart. I knew that I knew that I knew that the Holy Spirit had revealed a plan for abundant living even in the Old Testament.
"You must follow after the Lord your God, fear Him, and keep His commandments, obey His voice, and you must serve Him, and cling to Him" (Deut. 13:4).
Even now, months later, as I copy those words for all of you to read, my spirit and my soul and shout in unison, "Yes, Lord! That's it!"
This particular verse is filled to overflowing with verbs that are in the imperative. These verbs are a commandment from the Holy Spirit to your life today in the 21st century. They are not a biblical suggestion but a Holy Spirit-inspired mandate that will create for you the life of your dreams.
You are decreed with the delightful duty of following the Lord all the days of your life. He is in front, and He is leading you—not the other way around. You don't have a better idea or a wiser direction than God does. You can be sure that the God who loves you more than you can fathom is always leading you toward good and toward victory!
The second injunction in this wonderful verse is to fear the Lord. This word "fear" means to honor, respect and even to tremble for joy in His presence. I like that, don't you? You see, fearing the Lord is not a fearful action but a joyful and reverent response of those who love Him completely.
The Holy Spirit has charged you with the extreme discipline of keeping the commandments of the Lord. God has generously given a list of guidelines for your life—not to keep you from pleasure, but to give you joy. The commandments of the Lord are not burdensome but were designed to give you the opportunity to live an abundant life even when this side of heaven! I'm in. I'm all the way in.
God wants you to listen to Him. This verb "listen" in the ancient Hebrew doesn't just imply hearing, but it means to listen in such a way that it inspires a response or an action. When God speaks, stop everything else you are doing and allow His Words to soak into your dry and thirsty soul. Respond to the words and to the voice of God by living in a manner that honors Him. You can do it. I know you can!
I believe that the response that should be inspired by listening to the voice of God is what comes next in this rich verse: Serve Him. God is calling you to be great in His kingdom; greatness always comes due to humility and service.
And finally, the Holy Spirit is charging you with the glorious responsibility of clinging only to God all the days of your life. Other things such as entertainment, spending and recreation will call your name, but they are mere distractions to that which was meant to be the true sustenance of life. You might wonder, "How do I cling to the Lord? What does that mean?"
I believe that the delight of "clinging" to the Lord has already occurred if you have followed the Lord and trembled for joy in His very presence; if you have obeyed His commandments, listened intently for His voice and served Him without complaint.
Why don't you take some time today, as I did during that winter morning when I read this verse, and repent of distractions and disobedience? Enjoy 10 or 15 minutes just trembling for joy and listening for His voice. Put everything else aside and focus on His love for you; you will never regret it. I guarantee it!
Carol McLeod is an author and popular speaker at women's conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. Carol encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor. She has written eight books, including The Rooms of a Woman's Heart, Defiant Joy!, Holy Estrogen!, No More Ordinary, Refined, Joy For All Seasons, Let There Be Joy! and Pass the Joy, Please! which releases on February 1, 2018.Her teaching DVD, The Rooms of a Woman's Heart, won the Telly Award, a prestigious industry award for excellence in religious programming. You can also listen to Carol's "Jolt of Joy" program daily on the Charisma Podcast Network. Connect with Carol or inquire about her speaking to your group at justjoyministries.com.
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