Jesus taught what it means to follow him. It means saying “no” to our own ideas and walking with him. Not second guessing his plan. Not explaining why we prefer our way to his. It means yielding decisions and desires to him. Why? Because he knows what we need better than we do:
We want sunshine every day. God knows the earth needs rain, snow, and even a good lightning storm once in awhile.
We want trouble-free lives for our children. God uses troubles to mold them and draw them to him, just as he does with us.
We want everyone to like us. God wants obedience, boldness, and holiness over acclaim.
We want good health. God wants us to realize our frailty, our dependence on him. Maybe he allows failure in our bodies to help us share in his sufferings.
We want everyone to live at peace. He reminds us that he knew his coming to earth would create division, but he came anyway.
Yielding to God is not fatalistic. It’s following as his disciples did: walking with him wherever he led, stopping when he stopped, listening when he taught, and doing what he asked. It’s trusting his understanding and his intentions. Leaning in. Living confidently. Listening for his whispers. Following with anticipation. His way is better than my way every time!
“In all his acts God orders all things, whether good or evil, for the good of those who know him and seek him and who strive to bring their own freedom under obedience to his divine purpose. “ – Thomas Merton
I am learning a little bit about music from my musician husband. One thing he’s observed is that if a section of the orchestra is out of tune, it may be because the musicians are tuning to each other and not to a standard beyond them. For example, one violinist might suspect she’s playing a little flat, but will still tune her instrument based on what she hears played next to her so she will be in sync with the other violins. The result is the entire section might be playing flat.
There’s a way to change that. If a strong, in-tune instrument moves closer to the problematic section, the players will begin to hear a new standard and will tend to tune to the stronger instrument. One by one each player in the section will follow suit. The result? Everyone will be playing in tune!
Most of us tend to tune our spiritual lives to the people we hang out with. Are they warm toward things of God or cool? Turning to him for direction, or relying more often on their own wisdom? Or, worse, are they focused on their own interests and not those of God at all? If those we spend our time with those who are out of tune with the Holy Spirit in their day-to-day lives, we might be following suit without even knowing it.
The solution? We need to find friends who live in harmony with the Spirit and then get close to them. We can listen to their talk, catch their spiritual enthusiasm, and seek their counsel. Spending time with in-tune Christians will help us stay close to God, too!
“Only a disciple can make a disciple.” A. W. Tozer
Someday we’ll die. We don’t get to choose how it will happen – and sometimes death is sudden. So, here’s a question: If you were to leave this earth unexpectedly, what traces will you leave behind?
What books will still have bookmarks in them – in progress, but unfinished? What will those titles tell others about you?
What underlinings and notes will there be in your Bible? Will those notes show your desire to know the Author?
What emails, phone messages, and social media posts will have just been delivered? What replies will your family see coming back to you?
I read about a 90+ -year-old woman who died in her sleep. Those who found her body also found on the bedside table her written goals for the coming year. Her family read them and smiled, knowing she had lived her life fully to the last moment.
We leave fingerprints and footprints wherever we go. Someday we’ll make our final impressions on this earth.
When we live everyday in light of life’s fleeting nature,
when we aim at what is honorable not only in the Lord’s sight but also in the sight of man, and
when we live in light of the potential of lingering effects in every moment,
we begin to be aware of not only being good and doing good, but looking good, too. Our imprints reflect on our God. Let’s make good ones!
“O may all who come behind us find us faithful, May the fire of our devotion light their way. May the footprints that we leave lead them to believe, and the lives we live inspire them to obey. O may all who come behind us find us faithful!” – Steve Green