“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:38
Follow the Leader, by Randall D. Kittle
stacks_image_0197705A-B2DA-46EB-A4F4-1CA85DE7F7BB

As I was praying, the Lord spoke to me, saying, “Tell My Church to follow the leader.” With that I saw a young child with golden hair and big blue eyes. He held tightly on to his father’s hand as he unsteadily walked forward. I waited for the vision to change, waiting for the Lord to show me this leader the Church should follow, but the only person I saw was this child. Wondering if this little one could possibly be the “leader” the Lord had told me about, I asked the Lord, “Is this the leader we need to follow?”

Instantly, I heard the Lord declare Isaiah 11:6,
“And a little child shall lead them!” With that, I began to carefully look over every detail of this child to see what made him so special, why was he a “leader” we needed to follow. Only two things stood out. The first things I noticed were his wide eyes and the astonished look on his face that showed he found nearly everything amazing. The second thing that caught my attention was the fact that this child never, even for a moment, let go of his father’s hand.

Like a Little Child
God tells us over and over again in the Bible that He expects us to be child-like. Jesus clearly taught this in Matthew 18:2–4, “Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’”

This teaching wasn’t given for the benefit of the crowd or the Pharisees. Jesus spoke it to his disciples after they had been arguing amongst themselves over which of them was the greatest (see Mark 9:33–34). Jesus wanted them to recognize there was no position that would make them great in God’s eyes … but child-like character would. Jesus’ instruction was given as the antidote to their glory-seeking, the solution to their self-exaltation.

So if a little child is to lead us and show us the way … if we must become like a little child to even enter the kingdom of God, what does it mean for us to be child-like?

In the vision, the Lord highlighted two specific things. First, the child’s wide eyes and the astonished look revealed that he hadn’t lost the wonder of life. To him, everything was amazing. This young child was filled with delight in his Father, in walking with Him, and in everything around them. Secondly, the little one in the vision never, even for a moment, let go of his father’s hand. This child knew he was totally dependent upon his father.

Be Filled with Delight
In the Book of Revelation, Jesus warned the Church of Ephesus that they had lost their first love. I believe the Lord is saying to the Church in America in our day, “You’ve lost the wonder.” We no longer delight in the things in which the Lord would have us delight. If we are truly to be child-like, we need to delight in things … in the things He would have us delight in.

So, in what would the Lord have us delight? The Bible shows us the things we are to delight in.

• Delight in the Lord —
First and foremost, the Lord wants us to delight in Him. Psalm 37:4 declares, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” If you and I would truly delight in Lord, if He was our all-in-all, we would already have the desire of our hearts — for He would be the desire of our hearts!

Do you delight in the Lord like when you first believed? When I first became a believer, I was filled with delight in Him. I couldn’t believe how awesome, how wonderful, how great, and how amazing He was. He was my Savior! Despite having declared that He didn’t exist and running from Him as hard as I could, He rescued me from my self and sin and gave me eternal life with Him. I couldn’t wait to tell everybody. I wanted everyone to know
my Jesus!

Do you marvel at being His treasure … being loved so greatly and richly? Do you long to spend time with Him and share your heart with Him? Or are other things taking up all your time, energy and focus?
What is it you really delight in?

• Delight in His Word — Not only should we delight in the Lord, we should delight in His Word. “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:1–2).

Do you delight in God’s Word like when you first believed? When I first believed, my mom bought me a new Bible. I read that Book like my life depended on it, like it was the food I needed to survive. Often, I would sit and read chapter after chapter. I couldn’t get enough of His Word; I was so hungry for it. Every story was amazing. I had heard many of them before, but I hadn’t believed them. Now, they were alive, and I saw my Savior doing so many great and marvelous things. The Bible had become enlivened, and reading it imparted more life to me.

Do you read the Bible with an appetite to get more? Do you read it with a heart to obey it and a desire to be changed by it? Or are you distracted by the cares or passing pleasures of this world?
Are you delighting in His Word?

• Delight to do His Will — To delight as God would have us delight, we also need to delight in His will. Psalm 40:8 says, “I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart.”

Do you delight in God’s will like when you first believed? When I became a believer, I would have done anything Jesus asked. Obedience to His slightest desire wasn’t a problem because I marveled at what He had done in my life. I had gone from dead in my sin to having everything in Him. I longed to do His will!

One of the reasons the Church struggles with obedience is that we have lost our delight in doing our Father’s will. Something happened a few weeks ago that helps illustrate this type of delight. I was waiting in the café area of our church building for my son’s youth group to let out one evening when I saw a very young boy named Isaac. After he and I had done some high fives, low fives, and fist bumps, I remembered how cute he looks when he runs. So I said, “Isaac,” and he turned and looked at me with his big eyes. Then I said one word, “Run!” With that Isaac took off running … and ran all they way out of the room!

That is how the Lord would have us be obedient to Him — instant, total obedience. Isaac didn’t ask “Why?” or “How fast?” He didn’t even ask “Where?’’ He simply did what I asked him to do. How simple obedience would be if our hearts were like that of a child.

Do you diligently seek to learn God’s will so you can follow it? Are you instantly obedient to the Spirit’s leading or what God speaks to you from His Word? Do you delight more in getting your way or in following God’s will … doing whatever He asks?

Knowing We’re Dependent
The second “leadership trait” the Lord would have us possess is dependence. The little one in the vision never, even for a moment, let go of his father’s hand. This child was completely dependent upon his father.

In Psalm 62:7 the Psalmist declares,
“My salvation and glory depend on God, my strong rock.” Both your salvation in this life and your glory in the days yet to come depend upon God. In John 15:5, Jesus taught us that it is imperative that we depend upon Him, “Without Me you can do nothing.” As God’s children, He expects us to be dependent upon Him. Anything we attempt to do for the kingdom of God by ourselves accomplishes nothing!

This dependence is a very difficult aspect of the kingdom of God for Americans to apprehend. After all, the very first thing we did as a country was make a Declaration of Independence, and independence has become one of our defining features as a people. But in the kingdom of God, we are supposed to be interdependent with other believers and totally dependent on the living God.

We are Loved … Because
When my son Ben was a little baby, he couldn’t do anything beside eat, sleep, cry, smile … and mess up his diapers. He was totally dependent on my wife and me. Despite this, we loved him with an amazing love. Why? Because he was our son!

Never forget that God loves you for the same reason —
just because! Do you know why God loves you? It is not because you read the Bible or go to church. It’s not because you testified to your neighbor about His goodness to you. God loves you … because! In Deuteronomy 7:7–8, this is what God tells Israel, “The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; but because the Lord loves you.” Here God tells His people, “I have set My love upon you … because I love.”

This is one of the most freeing passages in the entire Bible. God’s love isn’t based upon what you do or how you act. You don’t deserve it, which means you can’t “unearn” it. God loves you just because He loves you.

We need to realize that God loves us and expects us to be dependent upon Him.
Dependence is humility. Independence is rebellious pride. Every way that we believe we can make it on our own is an area of pride … a heart of independence. Only those who are truly dependent upon God possess true humility. It is humbling to know that the only thing you can do to advance the kingdom of God is yield to the Living God.

Learning the Lesson of Dependence
Dependence is the lesson all of those who come to know God have to learn. Moses showed that he had learned this lesson in Exodus 33. At the beginning of that chapter, the Lord told Moses He would send His angel before Israel, drive out the inhabitants before them, and give them the promised land … but He would not go with them. Moses intercedes on behalf of the people saying, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here” (Exodus 33:15). Moses wanted more than the blessing of God — He wanted His Presence. Moses knew that without God, they had nothing. He had become dependent upon God.

It was the same for Peter. After Jesus’ teaching in John 6 had caused most of the crowd to turn away and stop following Jesus, this is what transpired:
“So Jesus said to the twelve, ‘You do not want to go away also, do you?’ Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life’” (John 6:66–68). Peter was saying, “Nothing else matters but You. Only You have the words that bring life.” Peter realized he was totally dependent upon Jesus.

How about you and me? Have we learned the lesson of being dependent on God? If we are to be like little children we need to have total dependence. After all, we begin in the kingdom of God totally dependent upon Jesus’ finished work on the Cross, and every step of our walk we must remain dependent upon His mercy and grace.

God desires us to be great in the kingdom of heaven. For us to step up to this greatness, we need to become like little children. Please join me in prayer:
Lord, thank you for loving us so much just because You have chosen to love us. We repent of any and all independence and acknowledge that apart from You we can accomplish nothing for Your kingdom. We ask that You would give us back the “wonder” of our salvation — restore the childlike marvel of Your great love and Your desire to use us. Lord, thank you for loving us so much and renewing our hearts.

All contents of this website are protected under copyright. Living Water Publications © ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­2017 All rights reserved.
www.livingwaterpublications.org