Who's in Charge?
Do you know what it’s like to make really difficult decisions? The Bible is full of people who were given choices to follow what God wanted them to do or take the easier path that didn’t seem so crazy. Noah’s choice was to go on just living a good life or build a gigantic ark and fill it with animals. It usually seems like the easier choice should be the wisest one, but when God has a plan, it’s better to listen. And listen for each step. Sometimes we plow ahead and forget to listen to the rest of the plan. I find myself doing this often. God points me in the direction I should go, and then I think I can handle the rest. I know how to get from one point to the other. But, when I think it is as simple as point A to point B, God reminds me that it was actually point A to point G, and I missed a whole lot of steps in between. Important, life-changing steps that would have prepared me for that point G location if I had just followed Him the entire time. We like to run ahead and think we know where He’s going, but the steps we walk with Him are what we truly need. The journey is what prepares us for the destination.
Pastor Chad talked about the difference between knowing about Jesus and truly knowing Jesus. Then in my quiet time earlier this week, Max Lucado was talking about Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, and how Satan needed “a man who had seen Jesus but who did not know Him.” Judas had spent time with Jesus, heard the same words, and seen the same miracles and compassion the other disciples had, but somehow he had not taken them to heart. Where were his thoughts that whole time? Was he only concerned with his present situation? His pocketbook? His comfort? What would cause him to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver? But do we find ourselves doing this as well? Maybe not for money, but for friends? Do we ignore the path God has asked us to follow when we go off to work or go out with friends? We want to fit in, we want to look good on social media, so we don’t speak up or stay faithful. We find ourselves sharing complaints and woes instead of the goodness of God. It is very difficult to complain when we are focused on the path in front of us and the One leading us. It can also hinder our mission of sharing Christ when we are constantly complaining about our current situation. While sharing our mistakes and pain can be cathartic for us, it only helps others when we also share how God has helped us through it or is with us in the midst of it. We do not have to always put on a brave and happy face, but we need to make sure that negativity is not the majority of what others see from us. How much good, grace, and love are we sharing?
When we are not in the midst of trouble, we can find ourselves getting stuck in routine rather than embracing each moment. Going to church and then letting our minds wander is a key example of missing the opportunity to know more about Jesus and His purpose for our lives. Or going to church and then letting opinions and disagreements cloud our vision and muffle our hearing. C.S. Lewis wrote in The Screwtape Letters about how Satan wants to keep your mind focused on the foibles of the people around you rather than what God is wanting you to hear. As long as he can keep your mind from thinking about things of God, Satan is accomplishing his goal. What is keeping your mind from learning more about Christ? Are you worrying about the future or how you’ll make it through the day? Read Matthew 6:25-34 and Jeremiah 29:11-14. What is keeping you from spending more time getting to know God? Read Psalm 139, and pray verses 23-24. He knows you and wants to spend time with you. He loves you all the time, no matter what. Take some time to get to know Him.