Spiritual GPS (Part 3)
In the past few weeks on this blog, we’ve talked about spiritual GPS, or the ways in which the Lord guides us in our daily actions. Let’s continue the conversation today by examining three hugely important pillars of response to God’s calling on our lives.
God calls each of us. In fact, there is a complex-sounding theological term for God’s calling known as “prevenient grace.” Although it sounds complex, the meaning of prevenient grace is quite simple. Prevenient grace is the displayed love and grace of God in our lives that occurs even before we make a decision to follow Christ. This is the kind of grace that God uses to get our attention and turn the light bulbs on in our minds as to our need for a Savior.
For instance, I spoke to a man recently who had come to realize the tragedy of his sin. He had left the church behind as a youth and explored other expressions of spirituality that had come up entirely empty. He wanted to know that God had not given up on him, and his heart was opened to hearing the gospel of Christ! You see, God’s grace was and is at work in this man’s life drawing him to the gospel and to conversion. There are at least three biblical ways (I call them “pillars”) that hold up our response of acceptance to the free gift of grace. These pillars help the believer to build upon a foundation of faith in Jesus Christ.
Pillar 1: Duty. Duty is that which compels us to do what God wants us to do. For instance, our sense of duty compels us to treat others the way we want to be treated, to love our enemies, to pray, and otherwise to live out what we know to be right, based on the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Without a sense of duty, it is hard to aim at the target of following Jesus with heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Pillar 2: Obedience. Obedience is heeding that which Jesus commands us to do. Fortunately, Jesus made his commands quite easy to understand. Perhaps the key command of Christ is “Love one another.” Obedience occurs when we are tempted to go all sorts of different directions, but we study and ultimately choose the way of Christ and the teachings of His Word over and above all else.
Pillar 3: Responsibility. Responsibility is the relational quality which infuses both our sense of duty and actions of obedience. Responsibility helps us to know how our actions can and will affect other people around us. For instance, in 1 Corinthians 10, Paul dealt with a church about the issue of eating meat sacrificed to idols. The duty of the Christian in this case centered on spiritual freedom because of the Holy Spirit. They were under no particular obligation to shun eating meat sacrificed to idols since doing so did not equate to worshipping idols. Yet, Paul warns them against doing so, especially when younger, more inexperienced believers were around them. Even though they were free to eat such meat, and even though there was no command from Christ barring them from doing so, the most responsible thing was to refrain from eating the meat as a witness to the younger believers. Responsible Christians relate to others around them, building them up so that they will not fall or be enticed to water down their faith.
These three pillars are foundational for building a solid life and having a great spiritual GPS.