The Christian walk is all about following God. He leads; we follow. It sounds such an easy principle that I wonder why we struggle with it so much!

The Israelites, when travelling in the wilderness, moved when God moved. “By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.” (Ex 13:21-22) Sometimes the Israelites stayed in one place for some time; on other occasions, they moved on quite quickly. It all depended on God and was, I imagine, rather disconcerting to the people at times. There was certainly no room for complacency!

Nor is there room for complacency with us. Chris Tomlin’s song ‘I Will Follow’ echoes the idea of Exodus 13:
“Where you go, I’ll go
Where you stay, I’ll stay
When you move, I’ll move
I will follow…” (Chris Tomlin, ‘I Will Follow’)

Chris Tomlin, ‘I Will Follow’

Jeremy Camp, too, in the song ‘Without You’ looks at this theme of our following:
“I’ll walk beside You
As you lead me through still waters for my soul
I place my hope in all You are,
And I know You’ll guide me
To places where there’s beauty to behold
There’s no other place I’d rather be, no

‘Cause I’ve been down the other road
Where fear and doubt
They take control
And I won’t go there anymore

And I won’t make a move
Without You,
I won’t make a move
Without You
Right by my side
So I will wait for You
To lead me to
Any place where You need
I won’t make a move
Without You
Without You.” (Jeremy Camp, ‘Without You’)

Jeremy Camp, ‘Without You’

Paul tells the Romans “those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” (Rom 8:5) To the Galatians, he talks about being led by the Spirit and keeping in step with the Spirit (see Galatians 5), which is, I suppose, the New Testament equivalent of following the pillar of cloud or fire! Nonetheless, I don’t think it’s quite as easy as having that outward, visible sign to follow! Now we have that still, small voice within us, leading us and guiding us; now we have to learn to recognise the voice of the Shepherd if we are to follow. Sometimes that is not easy, but the principle still remains: where God leads, we follow. Socrates said, “The end of life is to be like God, and the soul following God will be like Him.” Perhaps we need to keep the end point in view, for the scenery en route will surely change!