Mick’s Memo – Taking Direction
We men are notorious for not seeking direction. Typically, it is claimed, we would rather proceed to an unknown destination than take direction from someone else. While this stereotype attaches mostly to men when it comes to navigating automobiles, I believe the hesitance about taking direction is not limited to males. We all have difficulty taking direction. After all, we are the ones who will suffer the consequences if a decision goes south, so why add the risk of relying on someone else’s judgement? So, one of the problems for taking direction is our own willfulness.
But there are more challenges when it comes to taking direction in the spiritual realm. As followers of Jesus and servants of the Father’s purposes, we (should) seek to follow God’s lead. In our current series through Acts, the early disciples—Peter, John, James, Phillip, Stephen, Barnabas and Saul/Paul have shown the fruit of taking direction, but also the difficulty. We have the benefit of hindsight as we see how God led them and used them to build the irresistible church. They had to discover these things without that benefit. They had to rely on Jesus’ original commissioning instructions (Acts 1:8), on occasional visitations and most often on their ability to interpret their opportunities in light of the principles they knew from Scripture and their circumstances.
How are you at taking direction from the Lord? Do you feel that you’re following His path for you? Is it important? John seems to put a high value on it in his first general epistle…
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 1 John 1:5-7 (NIV)
Our “walk” is our direction in life—the outcome of our sequence of choices. The goal and privilege of following Jesus is being “with Him” and serving His purposes as we go along. This passage also tells us that taking direction has a moral component. We walk in fellowship with Him when we agree with His definition of sin and intentionally refrain from it. When we fail, we restore our “walk in the light” by taking ownership of it and receiving the cleansing offered (1 John 1:8-9).
Another aspect of taking direction is His guidance for choices about things that are not specifically “right or wrong”. We have a spectrum of morally acceptable alternatives. However, some can be self-directed, and some directed by the Lord’s prompting. We may be asked to do a favor for someone or to serve in a capacity at work, school or church. If we believe God may be calling us to this, we will usually have to say “no” to something else to say “yes” to the request.
Without becoming a slave to every request or suffer paralysis of analysis, it is wise for us to pray and listen for God’s voice in the circumstances around us. I believe the most important factor will be our inner motivation. Will we truly want to and seek to take direction from the Lord so that we can participate in the unique and fulfilling “walk in the light” that He has for us?
This weekend we will continue our study in Acts with the Apostle Paul’s arrest and trials found in chapters 21-26. We will also observe the Lord’s supper.
Looking forward to seeing you!