The Challenge of Following God

"So Abram went, as the LORD had told him... Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran... But there was a famine in the land... the famine was severe in the land."


Genesis 12:4, 10

Putting God first is the best thing for our lives. It points us to eternity and ultimately reveals to us the reality and truth of what it means to have an abundant life. For Jesus said, “I have come that you may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) But while following God and His purpose for our lives is the very best thing, it is not the easiest thing. In fact, when we choose to follow Him, it will be fraught with many difficulties and challenges along the way.


Abraham’s life in Genesis is just one of many examples in the Bible of saints who followed God’s call upon their lives but was also filled with great challenge. He accepted God’s call to become “a great nation” that would be a “blessing to all nations,” (Genesis 12:1-3), but that call was also filled with a 1000 mile journey to a land he knew nothing about.


When Abraham did arrive to the Promised Land, one of the first things he was greeted with was a severe famine. (Genesis 12:10) And the word “severe” in the Hebrew text can also be translated as “to heavy to carry, too deep to penetrate, too, too big to manage.” Interesting that God allowed something of that magnitude to enter into Abram’s life after he obediently did exactly what God asked him to do. (Genesis 12:4)


Why did God do that? He did that because God is not only interested in fulfilling His purpose in our lives, but also transforming us along the way. And one way God does that is through discipline, which is taught most often through trial and challenge. Hebrews 12:6, “For the Lord discipline’s the one he loves and chastises every son whom He receives.”


If you are following Jesus, truly following Him, you no doubt are experiencing this same paradox. On the one hand there is blessing, purpose and abundance. But on the other hand, there is great challenges. One reason God does that is that we may depend on Him and ultimately give Him the glory with our lives. That is God’s formula for success.


Jesus challenged us this way in Luke 9:23, “if anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” We don’t like crosses and self-denial, but God is calling us to trust Him and put Him first. When we do that, He is glorified and we are most satisfied.