When we accept the authority of God’s will in our lives it comes with directions, His directions. So, which way do we go? We desire to find the path that God wants us to be on. The difficulty is we try to discover that path using our own understanding. Usually, the direction God wants us to go is not the direction we think it is. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
It isn’t uncommon for us to get the directions confused. For the most part we think we know the way and just ask God to bless it. The reality is that God may have a direction He wants to take us but we struggle with the discomfort and insecurity of depending on God. We rarely hand over to God absolute control over the direction we are going.
I remember a fellow that needed directions, when he stopped to ask, a man gave him specific, turn by turn directions. The fellow listened intently and noted each turn and landmark. He set off with confidence that he knew where he was going.
About an hour later he arrived back where he started from. He found the man he asked for directions waiting there for him. Surprised he got defensive saying he followed every instruction to the letter. The man nodded in agreement, knowing the fellow did just that. Then the man said, “you didn’t think I was going to waste my time giving you directions before I knew you would follow them, did you?”
Are we good at following directions or do we need to know where they lead first? God doesn’t always give us the destination with His directions. Many times the purpose of the journey is found along the way. In the passage found in John 4:1-4 Jesus left Judea and headed for Galilee. But the destination wasn’t the purpose, the directions were.
John 4:4; NLT; And he had to pass through Samaria.
Wait, that’s not the way we go. We travel a different route. How come you are going that way?
We don’t always understand the directions without stepping out on faith and following. God requires us to go, follow the direction He gives us and along the way make disciples. We sometimes have different ideas of where we should go and who we should share the Good News with. I would encourage you to stop trying to figure it out and just go where God directs.
That isn’t always easy. We like to stay in our comfort zone. We like the security of familiar surroundings. We prefer to be with like minded believers. That generally isn’t the direction God wants us to go.
Look at the beginnings of the Church in Acts 2:41-47 & Acts 4:32-35. Look at all they had experienced and were doing.
*They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship and to the breaking of bread and prayer.
*All the believers were together and had everything in common
*Selling their possessions, they gave to anyone as he had need
*Every day they met together in the temple courts.
*They broke bread in their homes and ate together
*They had glad and sincere hearts, praising God
*Enjoyed the favor of all the people.
*The Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
*All the believers were one in heart and mind.
*No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own
*They shared everything they had
*Much grace was upon them all
*There were no needy persons among them
*They distributed their resources to anyone as he had need.
Who would want to leave that? Things were going well, but God had a plan to grow the Church even further.
Acts 8:1b; A great wave of persecution began that day, sweeping over the church in Jerusalem; and all the believers except the apostles were scattered through the regions of Judea and Samaria.
Scattered or sent by God? Sometimes we need a threat to move us out of our comfort zone. Why would we want to leave such a comfortable and secure place? Sometimes God has to move us. The faith they gained from watching what God did in Jerusalem through the Holy Spirit was encouragement enough to go and make disciples.
Acts 8:4-8; 4 But the believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went. 5 Philip, for example, went to the city of Samaria and told the people there about the Messiah. 6 Crowds listened intently to Philip because they were eager to hear his message and see the miraculous signs he did. 7 Many evil spirits were cast out, screaming as they left their victims. And many who had been paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city.
But there was a man named Simon who had amazed the people with his sorcery. And when the people started following Phillip, Simon wanted the power He had. He even thought he could buy the power of God. But God withheld the Holy Spirit.
They believed in God, confessed that belief and were baptized, but something was missing, The Holy Spirit. I believe God withheld His Spirit for the reason of teaching us the difference. It wasn’t until Peter and John came from Jerusalem, prayed and laid hands on the new believers and they received the Holy Spirit.
There is a difference between saying you are a Christian and living like you are a Christian.
It is easy to say something, or claim something, or pretend to be something by doing all the right things, being in all the right places and having all the right friends. But, there is no substitute for the presence of The Holy Spirit! Without His presence in our life we are only acting out a part. We need to search our soul, our lives, for the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Simon thought he could buy the presence of the Holy Spirit. We have the same thought; it is called a works-based salvation. If we do enough good things in the name of God then we cover our sin. Nothing could be further than the truth.
The challenge for us is are we playing a game, acting out a part or have we welcomed the Holy Spirit into our lives and submitted to God’s will? The Holy Spirit needs to enter our lives. Are we willing to submit to God and allow His Spirit to direct our lives?
Matthew 28:18-20; NLT; 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”