Now the other week we held our annual Oasis VBS day camp and as always it was an amazing time. For one week over 100 kids have a chance to learn about the love of God for them in a fun and energetic environment. It truly is an oasis for all involved!
This year the overall theme was following Jesus the light of the world and that has gotten me thinking as it always does. Each day has a theme and so throughout the day the theme will be stated and the kids would cheer enthusiastically- FOLLOW HIM! So we examined ideas like: Jesus gives us hope, Jesus gives us courage, Jesus gives us direction, Jesus gives us love and Jesus gives us power. After each the kids would shout FOLLOW HIM. It’s more than a mantra, it’s true. In order to experience these amazing promises from God we have to follow him.
To reinforce the point of following Jesus the kids receive wristbands with “watch for God” printed on them. Just like watching to catch Pokemon, or even more importantly, in order to follow God we need to watch for where’s he’s working but also watch our lives and how we’re living. Paul wrote this to Timothy, a young pastor he was mentoring: “watch your life and doctrine closely, persevere in them, because if you do you will save both yourself and your listener.” [1 Tim.4:16]
So these thoughts make for a great cheer and it’s nice to have a wristband reminder, but do we? How do we watch for God and watch our lives? How do we follow him? Can you add your voice to the cheer or are you…wondering?
That was my question to the kids and leaders regularly as I had the opportunity to do the Bible teaching each morning (in a dramatic setting complete with costumes, props, a smoke machine, etc…..see why I love it?). It’s easy to follow God when you’re in the safety of camp, or perhaps leading at Oasis or at church, but what about in the day-to-day? What about when you don’t feel like it? When bad things happen? When you feel far from God? Do we trust Him then? Are we following him? Are we watching for him? It’s at moments like these the reality of what you profess to believe is shown. Here’s where the rubber hits the road.
But this is where our concepts of watching and following really come into play. They are rooted in a foundation that is rock solid. We know that God has a purpose and plan for us (Eph.2:10), loved us enough to send His son to die for us (John 3:16) and showed that love enough to die whether we accept it or not (Rom.5:8). So we can trust him enough to not only watch to see where he’s working but follow him too. We read in Proverbs 3:5-6 trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on our understandings. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. Notice he doesn’t say easy but straight. As the saying goes: God doesn’t promise a smooth trip but a safe landing.
For anyone who is in Christ is a new creation (2 Cor.5:17) so that means not only is our future destination of Heaven secure but also our present can be filled with His presence. How can we not only just watch for him but follow him as well? Sure, chasing Pokemon can be fun but watching for God and then following him can turn into the biggest adventure you’ve ever had!