I cannot speak for Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joshua, Ruth, Hannah, Huldah, David, Elijah, or Luke the physician and the writer of the third New Testament gospel and the book of Acts, as to their personal reasons for deciding to follow God.
For me, upon hearing the gospel message for the first time and being convicted of my sin…at age 18…I was amazed first that God was real and second that He knew all about me.
I was also amazed that He did not condemn me but was offering forgiveness for all of my past mistakes and wrongdoings, wrapped within a quality of encouraging, optimistic, and unconditional love I had never before encountered.
In a way I cannot adequately describe, I acutely sensed that this was my Creator speaking directly to me, showing me lovingly how and where I was coming up short in His estimation, and offering a way out of sin and a way into a new life through the cross and the resurrection of Christ.
The additional realization over time, after my conversion, that God thought enough of me to reveal to me His plan for my life, sealed my commitment to take up the cross and to follow Jesus through a mixture of respect, admiration, and a deep curiosity to see how a walk of faith with God would actually work out.
I sensed that it was not just merely okay, but was actually expected and encouraged of me, by faith to put God’s higher ways to the test.
My curiosity about the ways of God, starting out in my new walk of faith, in my case made up for the lack of high character or natural talent in godliness…that I did not and do not innately possess.
Passion, dedication, and tenacity in my own unique journey of faith…came later with time.
But everyone possesses and can begin their journey of faith exercising healthy curiosity about God…and to have a willing and open-mind to accept the offer of Jesus…recorded in John 16:13.
With my Christian conversion experience I also felt an equally indescribable, secure, and solid sense of hope that whatever God had planned for my future it would no longer be aimless, unguided, and missing the mark.
The nagging sense of the empty insecurity of not knowing the right way…that something important was missing in my life…left me entirely when Jesus entered my life.
The higher ways of God are infinitely more hope-filled than anything this world can invent or offer. A God-composed journey of faith is the one and the only thing in all of reality that offers genuine hope in this current life.
An equally important factor in “selling” the positives features of taking up our cross to follow Jesus is that in our journey of faith, no matter how challenging in the present moment, we have the very real sense that we do not walk alone. Not only are we “compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses” (Heb. 12:1), but we also carry within us the very real and tangible peace of God which comes with having Jesus with us and inside us at each step of the way (Rev. 3:20).
No matter how challenging the temporary circumstances of the present journey, if we can get quiet and still in our “prayer closet” before God, we sense the uplifting encouragement that Jesus knows the one right way to go.