This morning I read about Noah leaving he ark after the flood & it struck me today that Noah didn’t leave the ark until God told him to. This was interesting to me because there were lots of indicators that it was safe to leave the ark. It had been stationary for quite awhile, a dove brought back an olive branch & when Noah released a dove after the olive branch, the dove didn’t return. Noah went into the ark with God’s direction & he didn’t leave the ark until God gave some clear direction.
Let’s be mindful that we don’t allow external circumstances to be the final deciding factor with our decisions.
Be sure to check out this link for my new book: In Step book
Following the Holy Spirit means that we allow the Holy Spirit to set the direction & pace regardless of the terrain. So I’m learning that the course navigation isn’t up to me, nor are the seeming detours when I think we are aiming for a particular destination.
Additionally, for pace, there are times when the Holy Spirit seems to move slower than molasses in Winter. At other times, it feels like I’m on the Aerosmith rollercoaster at Universal Studios, going from 0-60mph in 4seconds. Exhilarating!!!
And then there’s the terrain part of following the Holy Spirit – bumpy, hilly, rocky, smooth, dusty, pristine, raucous & serene.
To be sure, following the Holy Spirit is a lifelong journey in which we get to know the Holy Spirit better & better one step at a time!
My husband is really good at planning all kinds of stuff. Currently, he’s planning our family vacation, a roadtrip from Denver to Washington DC to sightsee and explore our nation’s capital. I deeply appreciate his skill in planning and there have been innumerable occasions where his planning abilities have bailed me out, thank ya Jesus!
On the other side of planning is non-planning, or maybe the euphemism is spontaneity. This can be a fun way to do life, but risky to be sure. Whether you’re a planner or non-planner type person, let’s be sure that we are endeavoring to follow the Holy Spirit, full stop. Sometimes in our planning we can get so locked into the plan, that we shut out any guidance or direction from the Holy Spirit along the way. On the other side, the lack of planning can leave us in a place where we can’t follow the Holy Spirit, due to a lack of resources, time, energy or ability.
For the people who are planners, be careful to allow the flexibility in your plans to make adjustments should the Holy Spirit lead in a different direction. For the people who are non-planners, be careful to keep yourself with the resources where you can follow the Holy Spirit.
This picture is from a pretty shady neighborhood in Phnom Penh Cambodia. When you go into this apartment complex, it can be super creepy & intimidating. But it’s full of people & this is why it’s great because Jesus loves people!
Doing love well is an essential ingredient to following Jesus based on John 13:35. But it’s not easy, sometimes. It’s not easy to love a drug addict mom who neglects her kids to feed her addiction. It’s not easy to love when your body doesn’t feel well. It’s not easy to love someone who can be prickly & cantankerous. It’s not always easy to love.
But this is what Jesus says is the defining mark of those who follow Him – that we will be recognized by our love for one another. Let’s choose to love & let God love others through us, even when it’s not easy 🙂
At some point, all of us have played Follow the Leader or Simon Says, most likely when we were kids. The first few times, it took me some practice to get the hang of it, but rather quickly, I wanted to be the leader so I could make others do what I said. That felt really powerful ,)
I remember one of my teachers telling me, “Sarah, if you’re going to be a good leader, you have to learn to follow well.” Of course, this wasn’t the advice I was eager to hear, even though it felt right in my heart and I still hear these words bounce around in my heart & thoughts to this day.
I’ve been thinking of these words about following as they relate to Jesus following the Holy Spirit in Luke 4:1-2. These verses describe how Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit and led by the Spirit around in the wilderness for 40 days as He fasted & He was tempted by the devil. When I’ve thought of these verses, they don’t feel particularly alluring nor enticing. I’d prefer to not wander around in a desolate wilderness and fast for 40 days, nor be tested by the devil. Yet that’s exactly what happened as Jesus followed the Holy Spirit. Later in Luke 4, we read about Jesus being anointed by the Holy Spirit, speaking gracious & powerful words and we see Jesus start to walk in the fullness of His earthly ministry. But all of that came after His committment to follow the Holy Spirit.
When we follow our flesh, it can briefly make us feel good. But following the Holy Spirit has far better & longer lasting results than any flesh adventure we could choose. Let’s be committed every day to following the Holy Spirit.
Anchors help keep a boat steady & locked down. They’re helpful when there’s a need for stability & immobility. On the flip side, anchors don’t let a boat do what it’s designed to do – float & move. There are times & places for anchors but not if there’s a need for freedom & movement.
Sometimes we might have anchors in our lives that restrict us from flowing & staying in synch with the Holy Spirit. Some of these impeding anchors might include:
fear: maybe we’re scared of what might happen or afraid of failing or making a mistake
routine: if our routines become ruts, then were merely living in a grave with the ends kicked out! May our routines facilitate walking with the Holy Spirit 🙂
unbelief: sometimes we can have a very serious problem if our intellect undermines rather than supports faith
people: I’m a firm believer that people are important & let’s be keenly aware of the influences we let people have in our lives
Let’s keep ourselves anchored into a tandem lifestyle with the Holy Spirit 🙂
This morning I read about Zacheus, the wee little man who climbed up in a syacmore tree, so that he could get a better glimpse of Jesus. In this very brief story, we see that Zacheus was a tax collector & not popular with the general public (maybe like our IRS – smile). Nevertheless, his interest in Jesus compelled him to do something that was out of the ordinary – maybe he was used to doing these kinds of things since he was a wee little man ,)
Whatever was his normal behavior, he caught Jesus’ attention and Jesus was happy to visit Zacheus’ house – the beginning of Zacheus’ transformation. When we genuinely look for & accept Jesus for Who He really is, then our lives change. Our relationship with Jesus is about living a transformational life more than being a religious follower of Jesus 🙂
When I look at Jesus’ life, He left LOTS of results: healings, redemption, restoration, forgiveness, resurrection and BOATLOADS more!!! It seems to me that wherever Jesus went, He left a trail of astounding, outrageous and highly desirable results. Because of these results, He was quite popular. Get around Jesus and:
your blindness will be removed;
your brokenness will be repaired;
your deafness will be healed;
your death will be resurrected along with SO MUCH MORE!
Like the people in Jesus’ day, I think we all want these things in our lives. But also like the people in Jesus’ day, I’m not so sure that we always want the Cause of these results. In actual truth, Jesus had very few followers compared to the amazing number of fans who liked Him for His results. When we become legitimate followers of Jesus, we are continually changing and making adjustments so that Jesus can have more maneuvering space in our lives – increasing His presence / Cause and His effects 🙂
Don’t settle for the special effects when you can have the Original Cause 🙂