Letting God Take the Helm
God Can’t Steer What Ain’t Moving
“God can’t steer a ship that isn’t moving and he can’t steer you when you aren’t moving.” Lorilee Lippincott (lovingsimpleliving.com). This quote is from her post God’s Will – Stepping into It, from 2013. I found her site quite by accident, but as we are talking about God’s will…was it? An accident I mean.
I was researching more on opinions, other than my own, that supported or gave scriptural reference to minimalist living. Christian guidance to downsizing the clutter. Trust me there is plenty out there based in new age, existential philosophy…I know because I have read some of it. That being said, let me explain my life long train of thought. You can learn something, from everything and everyone. You can glean a wealth of knowledge from the mistakes and triumphs of others, regardless of their station in life.
Some have a tendency to stop listening when someone of another faith, class, economic standing or culture begins to speak, afraid we are going to “catch” what they have. Maybe we need to “catch” it. This is a message for people grounded in their faith, strong in their walk with the Lord. Those teetering on the edge or new in their Christian faith may get confused so this is not a blog for them. (Not excluding you, just do not want to confuse you.) Because of my desire to explore, ask why and learn more, I have been lead astray in the past…so it is with great caution I tell you there are lessons to be learned. However, you should proceed with prayerful faith and consideration.
The Mormon Church practices sending young people out on missions when they are of age. If I recall it is 2 years from the young men at age 18 and 18 months for the young women at age 20 or 21. I had two friends when I was young who were missionaries with the Mormon church. It was a changing experience for them and for their faith. It disciplined them, taught them independence and in at least one of those cases my friend developed a much deeper faith. What could happen in our church if we developed a program for our youth to join with missionaries for 6 months, a years or even for a summer to build churches and evangelize. Less than 2 weeks in Haiti made a lifelong impact on my sister. We are called to go into all the world…I say let’s start sending them. It will challenge our young people in the flesh and grow them in the spirit.
Muslims pray 5 times per day. Not a quick “God is great…” before dinner and “Now I lay me down to sleep” before bed, 5 times a day their world stops and they pray. What would happen if we stopped our world 5 times a day and prayed with all our hearts?
I am not a student of theology. These are just two examples that popped into my very crowded head. We can learn from one another and improve our walk with our heavenly Father. That is why Lorilee’s quote stuck me so, God cannot steer us if we are not moving. If we are praying and seeking God, asking for guidance he will give it to us. If we are moving, seeking God’s will, he will steer us in the right direction.
Be a Warrior, Not a Wimp
Here is another thing that I have been pondering in my faith quest the last few weeks…Jesus was not a wimp, remember he confronted the money changers in the temple. He does not say Jesus asked them nicely to stop, he was mad – he turned over tables, because of the disrespect in the house of God. He endured the cross and the torments that preceded the crucifixion, those are not the actions of a wimp. Jesus was a peaceful, loving warrior. Think about it for a moment, he had the host of heaven on speed dial and he suffered for us. We forget, Jesus had free will too. He was a WILLING sacrifice. Jesus was made of some pretty tough stuff. He was a carpenter by trade before entering his ministry. Think of those you may know that are carpenters. They have calluses, muscles, splinters and they are strong. Jesus is love, mercy, gentleness and so on, but we overlook that he was so much more than just a gentle soul sent by the heavenly father as a sacrifice. He is our example, to work hard, to stand up for what is right, to love one another, and if/when called to lay down our life for another. In my mind, Jesus was the ultimate warrior.
We are called to be loving warriors. Most of us will never have to be martyred for our faith. Most of us will never have to sacrifice our physical life as Christ did. You may be persecuted, for some it may be name calling, losing a job or still in some parts of the world…losing your life. We are told to put on the armor of God. Ephesians 6:11-18 says, “ 11Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12For wec are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. 13Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.d 16In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.e 17Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.”
You put on armor for battle, not for a tea party. Warriors go to battle. Merriam-Webster defines a warrior as “A person who fights in battles and is known for having courage and skill” Go a step further and examine courage, defined in the same publication as “the ability to do something that you know is difficult or dangerous.” My all time favorite quote on courage comes from John Wayne, “Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.”
I have never been a soldier in the military. I have never experienced a battlefield. I have worked in a prison. I have worked as a probation parole officer. I have been scared beyond what I can express and had to push that fear down, hide it…all in order to make it home safe. Some would call that courage, in the instances that come to mind…it was survival. Yes, those who work in that field show courage daily – sometimes just showing up to work is an act of courage these days, I just want to give perspective. When I started speaking more boldly about my faith to my husband and children…that was courage. The first time I asked my husband to pray with me about something I trembled and cried. I had to ask God for boldness. I had to ask God for the words to say. I was afraid of being judged or rejected by the person I trusted most. This was not a symptom of my marriage – my husband has ALWAYS been supportive of me, this was a symptom of my relationship with God. That incident was months ago. That step helped me step out in boldness in other areas. (Baby steps mind you, but steps nonetheless.) These moments are moment of courage.
God’s Will, Nothing More, Nothing Less, Nothing Else
Most people have good intentions. I have lots of good intentions and ideas that sometimes are like word vomit on a digital page. (To many thoughts not enough filters.) I am gaining clarity through the Spirit. I rededicated my life at the beginning of this year when I thought I was doomed to have a tragic 2016. My January was a nightmarish heartbreak. I was ready to curl up and quit. The Lord had already been dealing with me and it was just enough that I turned to him instead of to a path of despair and destruction…again. Don’t mistake me, I was never a drug user, never an alcoholic, I would work myself too much, be a glutton and disappear from any social and family construct. (Sin is sin in God’s eyes, let us not forget.) When we started going to our church I had renewed hope. I was reading my bible, praying and started getting involved. Something still was missing. The worthlessness still nipped at my heels like a rabid dog. I desperately wanted to break through, but I was scared.
Yep, you read that right. I was scared. You just read all that courage stuff and I am telling you, I was scared. I was doubting. I was saved. I was a Christian. I wanted to be filled with the Holy Spirit, didn’t I? I was scared because you are responsible for what you know and praise God…now I know. (as of Thursday August 18) I am sharing this because someone, somewhere is overthinking things just like I did. They are letting that fear, feeling of worthlessness, or other obstacle prevent them from being a truly new creature in Christ.
There is nothing to be afraid of, first of all. I cannot explain the joy because the prayer language of tongues is not a font God sees fit to put in a Microsoft Word, it is between He and I, and human language cannot describe it. It will between you and God. In my case, I believe God had been prepping me for the moment when someone loving asked are you filled or not. Then said, “we will take care of this right now.” (Thank you Ms. Joi for being God’s willing instrument.) God is a strategist, the ultimate chess player. We have free will, but he can see the whole board – we only see our next one or two moves. Ms. Joi had been praying for me. I had been praying to break through this plateau, I had even prayed for the Holy Spirit. Nothing seemed to be happening, but I kept pressing in. I entered the fast expecting to have a spiritual break through. In other words, I stepped out on my tiny faith. (Scratch that – my faith is not tiny any more…little maybe, but my faith has grown.) I stepped out in faith. Faith requires action. God rewards faith with action that is in His will. This week has been evidence of that.
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:” (Matthew 7:7 KJV)