Archive for July 15th, 2008

15
Jul
08

Two-fer Tuesday: Walking with God by Deacon Blue

How do we walk with God, an individual we cannot see and who doesn’t speak to us with a physical voice? And how do we do it with a roadmap as confusing at the Bible can often be? We must open ourselves up and let go of our selfish desires. We must be willing to admit that we usually don’t know the right thing to do. We need to let the Holy Spirit do that hard work for us.

I should note that my gut feeling was that Miz Pink would cover today’s topic by going with the “path to destruction is wide” angle (and I was right), so I decided to go a completely different route, and pick one of my favorite passages in the Bible, and one that probably most of y’all have never heard of. But it’s one of the few in my King James Bible that I have memorized word for word.

O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. (Book of Jeremiah, Chapter 10, Verse 23)

To me, this statement encapsulates the very core of how we are supposed to view our walk with God. It not only evokes the walking imagery but hits home that point about how we must let God guide us because, frankly, we don’t know crap most of the time.

So what does that mean for our free will?

It doesn’t hurt it one bit. For one thing, if we are walking with God, we should freely choose to follow the path he wants for us. That’s not slavery; that’s good judgment. Moreover, choosing the path God wants for us doesn’t mean all our choices are made for us. It simply means we put ourselves on the right road. Whether we run down it or walk or skip is often up to us. Whether we stop to smell some roses or head to the end of the road as fast as feasible is typically up to us. We just need to be open to the Holy Spirit and let it guide us.

This is something Mrs. Blue and I have found out the hard way on numerous occasions when we haven’t done what our spirits have nudged us to do. The most recent really painful life lesson in this regard was several years ago when my wife was considering grad schools and the Holy Spirit was prodding her in certain directions that were oriented toward helping people directly. Well, we panicked about how long it might take for such degrees to become something that would pay off financially, and money was heavy on our minds. And jointly, we decided that she should go for something a bit more “business minded.” It was a huge mistake, and God left us to deal with the fallout of that bad decision. Now, He’s been sending some blessings that are making the decision less unbearable, but we are still frequently reminded that we purposefully rejected His guidance based on our fears and preconceptions and impatience. Now as Mrs. Blue feels some new proddings toward another degree, we are not so quick to want to ignore God again. We’ll see if we can keep the faith and stay on the walking path God is setting up for us, though.

Also, taking God’s path and asking him to show us what path He wants us to take isn’t always a dramatic thing involving a grad school or other major life choice. We need to listen to God and invite his navigational skills in smaller things as well. For example, generally when I crack open my Bible just for general edification, I recite that passage from Jeremiah above and then I open my Bible with my eyes closed. I’d say that roughly a third of the time, I find on one of the two pages before me a passage that directly relates to some critical issue with which I am wrestling that day. Another third of the time, it’s something that indirectly relates to the issue at hand or that opens my eyes to something I’ve been neglecting lately. The rest of the time, it’s just a useful passage to give me some new learning.

Point is, given how often I end up with truly relevant passages, from a book that is pretty freakin’ big and has an awful lot of subject matter that it covers, says a lot to me about how important it is not only to remember Jeremiah’s words but to speak them to God with a truly open heart. It never hurts to have a guide when we walk into unfamiliar territory, which is mostly what life is. And what better guide than an omniscient one?

(By the way, as long as we’re on the topic of walking with God, check out my “sequel” to the classic [or, some would say, trite] story “Footprints in the Sand,” a little story I call “A New Record in the Sand.”

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15
Jul
08

Two-fer Tuesday: Walking with God by Miz Pink

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.”

That’s some age-old advice from Matthew 7:13 and its good stuff to remember as we think about our “walk with God”. It’s a passage that also brings to mind that old saying about “the path to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Really they are separate sentiments. Matthew is telling us that choosing the right path is hard and means we have to do more work. We have to be careful not to stray too far one way or the other and we have to watch where we go. But taking the easy path, while it means less thought and worry and work also means we are more likely to get ourselves into trouble. Think about it. How much temptation to do have to eat crappy food or spend lots of money if you’re on some old narrow highway? But if you take the interstate, you’ve got rest stops and outlet malls and who knows what else, all readily available. you may end up at the same destination and maybe get there quicker but you may pay a price for that in the end. May not mean you end up in hell but it might mean a bit of hell in your life if you don’t take the narrow road when God offers it to ya.

The other quote (which I can’t figure out if anyone ever said officially or if it’s just a variation of some official quotes from saints, thinkers and others along similar lines) tells us that our good deed won’t get us into heaven. We need Jesus for that and its faith, not works, that lead us to salvation. But still it’s a reminder of how important it is to pick the right path when we claim that we are walking with God.

(Deke’s post on this topic, if you haven’t seen it already above mine…or is it below mine…is here)

(The image I used is by Pastor David Hayward, who has a blog called “Naked Pastor” and an art-related site called HaywardART. Used with permission. He has prints available for sale.)




Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley

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