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Friday, July 25, 2014

Don't follow me...I get lost easily!

In this day and age of GPS on your phone, in your cars, or clipped to your backpack when out in the wilds, it is almost impossible to get off-course.  If you want to find your way back from where you came, you just simply push "home" and the little device navigates you through all the twists and turns to get you back from where you started.  If you want to explore the nearest this or that, you simply search, click and then you are off and running.  In so many ways, these little devices are saving us lots of time and effort - even navigating us around traffic and construction delays if we so desire.  They can help in so many ways and have become almost common place now in our lives that most car manufacturers in the U.S. are just figuring out a way to configure them right into the dashboards of the cars so we don't have to have wires, adapters, and external devices hooked up any longer.  This speaks to me about how much it is we want to have things in our lives which give us direction and help to keep us on-course.  I wonder if we were to begin to consider the Word of God (scriptures) as our "GPS" for all things spiritual, emotional, and relationship-based if we might have a little less "getting off-course" and a little more "arriving at your destination"!

You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God. You’re blessed when you follow his directions, doing your best to find him. That’s right—you don’t go off on your own; you walk straight along the road he set. You, God, prescribed the right way to live; now you expect us to live it. Oh, that my steps might be steady, keeping to the course you set; then I’d never have any regrets in comparing my life with your counsel. I thank you for speaking straight from your heart; I learn the pattern of your righteous ways. I’m going to do what you tell me to do; don’t ever walk off and leave me. (Psalm 119:1-7 MSG)

The scripture reminds us of the blessing of remaining on-course.  I only have to remind you of the last time you got "lost" on your way to a destination, taking even one wrong turn which landed you in some place your didn't want to be, to see the advantages of "staying the course".  To "stay the course" we have to "know the source" of our "way-finding".  If we can rely upon the "source" then the "course" should be pretty accurate.  On one of my vacations, my BFF and I wanted to explore caverns.  We were in Virginia and you might have heard how magnificent some of their caverns are in that area.  In our GPS unit, there was a set of caverns we had not yet explored and it was nearing the end of our time in that locale.  So, off we went, following dutifully each and every turn the GPS unit directed us to make.  Don't you know, we never did find those caverns.  In fact, we were directed into the heart of a residential district and a pond!  Unless those caverns lay beneath someone's home or under the pond waters, we were totally misdirected!  We thought we could trust the "source" to direct our "course", but alas, it steered us wrong somehow!  We traveled a long way out of our way to be absolutely nowhere we wanted to be!

When our "source" is the Word of God, his Holy Spirit, and solid counsel from others who are connected intimately in relationship with Jesus, we are more likely to be able to "stay the course".  A word of caution, though - don't simply trust "one source" to be your guide.  Nothing does more to direct us safely to our destination than having the "direction" of multiple sources confirming our path.  For example, if we simply trusted the counsel of a friend, never checking it our with what the scriptures have to say, or listening to that "niggling" of the Holy Spirit within, we might think we are on the right path, but find we miss the mark.  We need confirmation, especially when it is the counsel of another we are about to follow.  As well-meaning as we may all be in rendering counsel to one another, we are not consistently "right on" in all we say.  

All God asks of us is for us to give it our best - to follow as though we mean it, listen as though we want to hear, and obey as though obedience is the most important way we can do to show our love for him.  This latter part is the place where we have the hardest time - being obedient - not going off on every little whim or fancy we might pursue.  Therein we find the greatest blessing, but it is exactly where we also find the hardest choices.  It would be so easy if the ONLY turn was to the right - so there was not opportunity to get it wrong.  If this were the case, there would be no choice at all and God doesn't want a bunch of robots - he wants individuals who will choose to love him with their whole hearts and serve him with honoring obedience.

God speaks directly from his heart and those words are aimed directly at ours. He isn't one to "mince words" - when he says "turn right", he means it!  What we choose to do with those words may make all the difference in how long our course will be, and ultimately what "shape" we arrive in once we reach our destination.  Just as clear as the GPS is in our car, directing us to turn right in 500 feet, so is God's directness in our lives.  He may not actually tell us to turn right in 500 feet, but he does give us warning of course change requirements.  Sure, he points out things in the scriptures which might just show us examples of where we have been a little too lax and drifted a little off-course in our spiritual lives, relationships, or the like.  He also gives us early warnings of our "drift" - just like the little GPS unit in the car, letting us know it is "recalculating" because we have taken an exit we thought was the right one, but which might not have been.  Before we get too far from where we desire to be, it warns us of the need for course correction.  So does our heavenly Father!  Our part is to heed the "early warnings" and allow the "recalculation" of our path!  Just sayin!