Tuesday, December 04, 2012

To the Right or to the Left?

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it."
Isaiah 30:21

When I used to read this verse I always assumed that it meant that God had an individual will for my life and if I wasn't careful, I would miss it.  But the more I dive into Scripture, the more I'm learning that my way of thinking is incorrect.  And ever so slowly, He is changing my thinking so that it actually lines up with His Word.  I am learning that there is His Sovereign will, which is His secret plan to determine everything that happens in the universe and I can only (sometimes) understand something after it has happened.  Then there is His moral will which is revealed in the commands in the Bible which teach me how I ought to believe and live my life. 

I don't know about you, but I desire to know whether or not I am following His will for my life.  I want clear-cut answers to decisions.  I want the lightening bolt to strike me and for God to clearly say "This is the way, walk in it!"  I believed that there was this individual will in which God would always tell me which job to choose, where to live, what school to go to...etc...

But there lies my problem.  The focus is on ME.  It's self-centeredness at its best.  The focus is on the way in which I should walk, what path I need to be on, MY life.  Not God's plan or His Word.

There are numerous Scriptures that tell me to lay down my life and pick up my cross and follow Him (Matthew 10:39, Matthew 16:25, Luke 12:22, Luke 14:26-27, and many many more...).  It's all about Him.  Not me.  Not I.  But Him.

So how do I do this? 

Simple.  His Word. 

His Holy Word contains everything that I will ever need in order to follow Him.  If I want to know the path to take or what decision to make, I need to look at His Law...His Word.  His way of righteousness is the way of success and He has laid it all out in 66 books.

And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness...
Isaiah 35:8

So be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left.  Walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.
Deuteronomy 5:32-33

The Lord will make you the head, not the tail.  if you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.  Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the right or to the left, following other gods and serving them.
Deuteronomy 28:13-14

Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.  Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.  Then you will be prosperous and successful.
Joshua 1:7-8

Ok...that's all fine and dandy...but how exactly do I actually stay on God's way of righteousness?  How do I actually put all this into practice in my life so that I may be found in Him?

So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.
2 Corinthians 5:9

My goal in life is to please Him.  Now I know that I am a sinful human being...trust me, I know.  So pleasing Him all the time is not the easiest thing for me.  I am fighting my sinful desires...daily...sometimes minute by minute.  But thankfully that is why He is in the business of transforming me (2 Corinthians 3:18).  It is a process.  One that will take time to learn.  All my old thoughts have to be replaced by new thoughts that come straight from His Word, His Law. 

And Romans 12:9-21 helps begin the transforming work in my heart.  It lays out what pleases Him.  In a nutshell here is what He is asking of me...
  • sincere love
  • devotion to other believers
  • diligence in serving Him
  • rejoicing
  • patience (ugh...so difficult!)
  • faithfulness
  • hospitality
  • blessing persecutors
  • living in harmony with others
  • humility
When I am doing these things, the focus begins to shift off of me and onto others and onto Him.  And really, that's what it's all about.  Loving Him and loving others.  Serving Him...and then serving others.  If I really want to know what His will for my life is...it's all right here.  Focus on Him and then love those He's placed before me.  Get rid of my selfishness and turn my eyes to Him.

But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard but doing it - he will be blessed in what he does.
James 1:25

And the fruit of following His smooth path will be evident even in life's most difficult trials.  Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23) will flow out from deep within because He is the one residing deep in me. 

I am on a journey with God.  His Word is my moral compass and as I seek His truth, He will straighten or smooth out the path before me.  He will not provide all the answers and I will not know or understand all the "whys" behind some events until after it is all said and done.  My job is to seek Him through His Word (Law), prayer and worship so that I may understand and choose how to live a righteous and faithful life before Him.  And as I align my choices up with His moral will...His commands...His love, I will look back one day and see His hand over it all.  It will not be about what I wanted to do, but more about following His Word and obeying it with each choice I make.  And yes, He gives me the freedom to make those choices so long as they line up with His Word....I mean really...did Adam and Eve consult God on what to make each night for dinner.  No!  He gave them a choice and only gave them one restriction of what NOT to eat.  Same thing in His Word.  He's laid it all out and tells me how to live my life according to His Word.  I have the freedom to make choices within that moral will...and the best way to learn it...by keeping my eyes upon Him.

It is not about me.  It is about Him.  Always has been...and always will be. 

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18