Spiritual GPS (Part 2)
On these Monday devotionals, we continue to explore our spiritual GPS, or the way in which the Lord guides us to serve in challenging days.
I recently listened to a couple of television news commentators rambling on about their impressions of this crazy year of 2020. Their conversation had little relevant appeal to me, but a few remarks hit home. For instance, they spoke about how they are “type A planners,” but their recent experiences helped them to become more flexible. They had decidedly committed to take more of an interest in day-to-day actions than with the long-term. If there is one thing they learned, it was that we only have today.
I once heard a wise person say: “One thing about a crisis is that you sure figure out what is and what is not important.” Perhaps one of the biggest lessons of 2020 was spoken nearly two thousand years ago when Jesus taught that we should only be concerned with today because tomorrow brings enough troubles (Matthew 6:34). In other words, planning for life these days requires acute attention to what God is doing in and among us right now, in the moment.
But how can we stay in the moment, focused on the will of God for today? How can we attune our spiritual GPS? Here are a few actions that may help you.
1. You can’t always plan for the Holy Spirit.
How many of us try to make plans and get God to go along with us rather than the other way around? Consider Paul and his friends who made plans to go a mission trip to encourage church they had planted (Acts 15-16), but the Holy Spirit shut the door on their plans. Instead, the Spirit opened a whole new continent to the gospel. If Paul had kept banging his head on a closed door instead of listening to the Spirit, then there’s no telling what may have happened. Sometimes the Holy Spirit is going to disrupt both our individual lives and our church life together. He may close doors to open new ones that we haven’t possibly considered. Are you listening to Him?
2. Use your God-given imagination.
God put in each of us an imagination that can envision almost unlimited possibilities. How do you think people like the Wright Brothers ever got a plane off the ground without wild imaginations? The Holy Spirit is absolutely fantastic at inspiring our imaginations if we’re willing for Him to use us. I once pastored a church, and a person with a tremendous imagination came up with an idea of baking and delivering a dozen cookies for every household in our town for outreach and evangelism. This was such an outrageous idea that it caught on, and our church did it! The day before the deliveries, it snowed about six inches. Yet, we still carried through with the plan. People in the town could hardly believe that we would do such a thing, and doors for sharing the gospel opened wide. Imagination can take us places that God wants us to go.
3. Use the balcony.
Some years ago, I read Ronald Heifetz’s tremendously helpful book called Leadership Without Easy Answers. In the book, Heifetz teaches a particularly encouraging metaphor about climbing up to the balcony of a challenge or problem. In other words, it is always helpful to get a bird’s eye view of our problems. What is really going on? Can we see the forest for the trees? We see numerous characters in the Bible use the balcony, so to speak. Moses is particularly helpful at this point. While the majority of the Hebrews saw only problems right in front of them, Moses saw the Promised Land. The big picture put all of their challenges in perspective. 2020 has indeed come with tons of challenges for people around the world. But where is God at work? Where is He leading us? Taking a trip up to the balcony may help us see a Promised Land ahead.
We’ll continue our series next week and speak of some specific challenges facing Christians around the world today. We’ll use what we’ve learned so far about our spiritual GPS and find some encouragement.