Following…trusting…it is never easy to discern

IMG_4267"For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face
to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have
been fully known.So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love."  1 Corinthians 13:12ff

I don't think it is ever easy to follow Jesus.  I've never had a "crystal clear" sense of what the Spirit is up to.  "Dim mirrors?"  Those I have had in spades!  When you get the sense that the pillar of cloud and fire is moving, you come to that threshold of choice – either follow it or opt out for the status quo.  Can you be blessed in the status quo?  Well, yes and no.  Yes, in that you most likely followed the leading of the Spirit into what became the status quo in the first place…so it is not a bad or completely unfaithful place. It is not that God just changed His mind or that God can't fill the status quo (old wineskins) with "new wine".  Jesus was a pro at taking what is ordinary and transforming it into the extraordinary.  Water into Wine?  Jesus says, "been there, done that."  Bring the familiar and let Him fill it with something that astounds.  When faced with a choice of following and trusting it isn't a choice of "good or bad", It is rather simply the decision to embracing that which is new on the horizon…it is following the voice of Jesus, that familiar voice, to a new sense of adventure. 

Not following the "winds of the Spirit" isn't damning anyone to a worthless, lifeless, pain-filled existence…what it most likely is doing is only robbing you from experiencing the delight of a new "country"…an experience of God's presence and anointing in ways you hadn't dreamed of before.  So (to return to the question, "can you be blessed in the status quo?") in this manner, the answer is "no"…for you might not be blessed in this type of "new way" by staying with the status quo.  But follow me here – the only thing you are missing out on by staying in the familiar is that which you haven't yet experienced…so what you are missing out on you really aren't missing out on because you never allow yourself to really know that new place, that new "country", that step out of the boat and into the water.  You can be content "in the boat" or you can experience the thrill of following Jesus in a new and different way.  Each has its own rewards…each has its own risks…each its own delights. 

There was a time that I really believed in a place called "God's perfect will."  People told me I would only find joy when I was living in God's perfect will.  That made me a bit paranoid…I over-analyzed, became obsessed with wondering where that "place" might be…and, truthfully, it robbed me of finding the joy and delight of knowing and growing in Jesus where I was.  Here's what I've discovered – there isn't such a place as God's "perfect will"…it is not that God withholds His joy, peace, the richness of His presence or the fullness of His kingdom because we are not exactly where He wants us.  God's "perfect will" is for me to share in His divine life…for me to embody the fullness of the living Christ through His Spirt in me wherever I might be, live and breathe.  You see, God isn't confined to a space…a place…God can be just as present for us where we are now as He would be in someplace new.  It is not that there is some "spirtual bull's eye" in life that we must hit or not discover all that God has in store for us as His followers.  At least in my mind, the issue has more to do with growth, potentiality, and what we may be missing in that "new" place as we follow the every changing, never predictable, always life-giving winds of the Spirit.  There is life where Jesus dwells..and that isn't in any one place except the human heart.  What there is in a new place, a new country, a step "out of the boat" is growth…freshness…an increased passion and trust in knowing the fullness of God in a new way.  It isn't that the status quo is bad or evil – the issue has more to do with what we would be missing if we didn't take the steps of faithfulness that Jesus calls us to take.  

Maybe you can see what I've noticed as I paroused what I just wrote…this issue can be a bit confusing.  But to damn ourselves to speculation that we have in some ways "missed it" and not experienced the promises of God because we didn't land in that place of God's "perfect will", can be more confusing and downright defeating.  "God's perfect will" is for us to know Him…love Him…obey Him…follow Him…respond to His voice…and allow Him to give us eyes to see the fullness of a Kingdom journey wherever we may be.  If we choose to follow a pillar of cloud and fire into a new country, we'll discover He's there too! 

One thought on “Following…trusting…it is never easy to discern

  1. Rob,

    This post could not have been read at a more perfect time for me. Steve ad I were just talking about how much life has changed since each of us moved to Idaho. I was reminiscing on our old community group and how much I valued that time. But alas, seasons change and with that so do our lives. I love your analogy about the wineskins. I was starting to get frustrated thinking of how I wish we could go back to our Sunday night groups, but in this context I can rest in knowing that that was just an old wineskin and although it was great and wonderful, its time has passed. We are now on a new life journey and on a new search for a new community ourselves.

    I pray for the best in your journey ahead. I look forward to the continued guidance I am always able to get from you in some way or another.



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