A Heart to Follow God by Erin Puckett

~ Every day during the teen and young adult years we grow more and more independent. We gain more responsibilities, make more of our own decisions, and form ideas and habits that will either be with us or affect us for the rest of our lives. Our teen and young adult years are some of the most important and pivotal years of our lives. This makes having a heart to follow God in our youth so important.

~ I notice more each day the selfishness and shortsightedness of my peers and myself. It seems as if the whole goal of the high school and college population is to have fun and party. Most of us only work so we will have money for transportation (so we can have more fun whenever we want). It's true that there's nothing wrong with fun, but that isn't the whole purpose of life, especially not during our youth. (Ecclesiastes 2:1-11- a little depressing but sobering because it's easy to get wrapped up in this world.) We can enjoy our freedom while we can (in a responsible manner) but we should also use this time to build our relationship with God and work on our character so that we have a strong foundation for the rest of our lives. One of my many sayings is "Work hard now while you have the energy, vitality and the faith of a child. After all, I'd rather spend seven years working hard to overcome my major personality flaws and drawing close to God then spend those years pursuing pleasure and selfish gain only to end up struggling through the rest of my life (compare 7 years to 55 years)." We must learn to build our lives around Christ now so we have a strong foundation to build upon for the rest of our lives.

~ Many people go around saying that one should follow his heart and believe in himself and blah, blah, blah when they have no idea what they're really saying. To follow one's heart basically means to follow yourself and your feelings. In reality we should be following God, not ourselves or what we feel at the moment. (God gave us a heart to feel with not to think with. He gave us a brain for the thinking function.) After all, Jeremiah 17:9 says "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" Believing in one's self is essentially the same. If there is any good in us it comes from God. Any strength we have also comes from him so we should really be trusting in God not in ourselves. A heart that desires to follow God seeks him and acknowledges him in everything instead of crediting itself. Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."

~ God is light and truth, therefore; to believe in him we must believe in the truth. To believe in the truth we must know what is truth and to know what is truth we must read the Bible. One of the most important qualities of a heart seeking to follow God is seeking truth, wisdom and understanding. Proverbs 4:7 "Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding." If we ask for wisdom and knowledge to understand God more he will give it to us. God loves us and wants us to be closer to him. He will not deny our requests for truth and understanding, all we need do is ask.

~ In having a heart to follow God we must also care. If we do not care about following, pleasing and glorifying God there is no point. God says that he would rather we be cold or hot but not lukewarm (Revelation 3:15-16). He knows our hearts and our innermost thoughts so there is no purpose in obeying his laws simply because of duty or because that's what our friends or family want. There must be conviction and sincerity in our actions for them to be pleasing to God.

~ Christ told us that if we love him we will keep his commands. (John 14:15) Though works will not save or justify us, faith without works is dead. (James 2:20) A heart desiring to follow God will keep God's commandments because it desires to please and obey God and also because it sees the wisdom in doing so. So as teens and young adults struggling to find our way, let us have a heart to follow God. 

Excerpted from More Than That,  October, 2003