Thursday, December 1, 2011

On My Own–Part 5

The Dark Traveler

Mar 4:24  And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given.

We said , last time, that there was a way to avoid being run aground in spiritual shallows.  We’ve spent quite a bit of time dealing with how not to remain spiritually safe.  Now it’s time to look at how to safely navigate life.  The verse that starts the last post and this one summarizes it all.  But it's more detailed than that.  So, let's take a look.

Our first responsibility, going back to the ship analogy, is to make sure we have up to date charts, pore over the charts to find the best direction, take guidance from good navigators, pay attention to the weather.  In life, our leaders, gurus, spiritual guides, pastors are supposed to be there to guide us through the rapids and narrows of life, away from the turmoil.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen.  Especially if they have no understanding of the Trinitarian God who loves us enough to have sent His Son to die for who we are even without Him.  I could possibly follow a teaching that I have no accountability, except to nature, no need for order except that randomly given by fate.  Or I could follow a teaching that the Triune God is going to squash me like a bug because its my behavior that counts, not Christ’s sacrifice.  In both cases, I’d be wrong.  So, how do we avoid those mistakes?

God actually made it relatively easy, although it takes a little time and effort on my part.  But the steps are worth every ounce of effort I put into them.:
  1. A good ship’s officer is going to take note of the position of land (if any) from the ship, how the currents are flowing, what the weather is like.  Pay attention to what’s around us.  If we do, we’ll realize that the order and beauty aren’t by chance.  There is a God.
  2. The navigator sometimes has no choice but to take the ship through torturously dangerous channels, in the worst of weather.  That’s when studying those charts and weather reports comes in most handy.  We need to learn about God.  Even in what seem to be the most horrendous circumstances, there will still be moments when God’s love for us shines through, if we just look. 
  3. The captain of the ship doesn’t have the cook check the charts to determine the best route.  Nor does he have the deck hand stop swabbing the deck to verify the weather forecast.  Each crew member is responsible for specific tasks   And the captain has the ultimate responsibility for a ship’s fate.  We’re captains of our spiritual well being.   As others share with us and guide us, we still need to be sure that what we’re taught is correct.  So, we need to study for ourselves.
  4. To continue in the ship analogy, let’s become submariners.  Think of our study as the ballast required to allow our spiritual submarine to submerge into deeper waters.  But, when it wants to surface, it discharges that ballast back into the surrounding water.  That’s evangelism.  Evangelism is neither a required duty nor is it an imposition on others.  It’s a normal function to allow fresh spiritual air into our experience.  And it gives our study back to those around us, not because we need to force a response, but because the love, grace and mercy we’ve taken in are worth giving back, out of the joy that God has given us.
  5. Find a good church.  God never made me to be a lone ranger Christian.  I’m supposed to be part of the spiritual fleet.  We’re told that each of us has a function that other parts can’t duplicate, but each of us needs each other’s portion.  When you think of ships and a convoy, each is built in a certain way to fulfill a certain purpose.  A passenger ship carries people, a cargo ship carries goods, a gunship is ready to battle the enemy, a pilot boat guides.  If any one of those goes off on its own, it loses almost all of the functioning that the others handle.
God has given us plenty of tools and all the steps necessary to have smooth spiritual sailing, no matter what course we have to take, no matter how rough the seas and weather.  We don’t have to be like Mary Kay’s “The Dark Traveler”, stuck out of water, going nowhere ever again, even in the best of times.  I don't have to be on my own.  How are you navigating through life?

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