Todd Weber's Random Thoughts

March 25, 2010

Following Jesus…Responsibly

Filed under: Biblical/spiritual — tkweber @ 10:51 am

John Ortberg wrote, “Life begins when a person whispers, ‘Jesus, today you lead, and I’ll follow. Whatever I have to do in my relationships, my body, my health, and my finances are in your hands. I won’t try to figure out the rest of my life. I won’t try to solve every day. Just today. You lead. I’ll follow.’”

I agree with the spirit of this statement, but I think it over-simplifies the issue for many Christians. I know that many believers read or hear a statement like this and immediately experience a rush of anxiety or a sense of guilt or frustration as they realize that their attempt to live this way (as they have tried in the past) will surely result in more anxiety rather than peace and contentment. This, in my opinion, is not due to an error in the statement or principle, but in the perception or understanding of those who are frustrated by it. I know this because I used to be one of those, and as a pastor I have spoken with numerous sincere believers who struggle with the same anxiety and frustration as they try to live faithfully for God.

Where we go wrong is in thinking that saying, “Jesus, you lead and I will follow. You are in control.” means that we let him make our decisions for us, and all we have to do is pray, ask for guidance, and wait for the answer to come. When the answers do not come, frustration and anxiety ensue.

We need to understand that giving God control and accepting his leadership in our lives is mostly about the big picture rather than the minute details. While it is certainly true that “A man’s ways are in full view of the LORD, and he examines all his paths” (Proverbs 5:21, NIV), God’s oversight of our lives is, in some ways, more like that of a corporate CEO than a shift supervisor. He sets the course and direction – the vision and values – and leaves the daily details to us (for the most part). There is no indication in the scriptures that God wants to micro-manage our lives making our decisions for us. Yes, there are Biblical examples of divine intervention in certain otherwise mundane decisions, but those are exceptional events, not necessarily for general application.

Growing in grace and knowledge of the truth does not mean abdicating responsibility for the conduct of our own lives. Too many good, sincere and capable believers do too little with their lives in this world because they spend their days waiting for God to tell them what to do.

  • Should I go to college or not?
  • Should I take this job or that?
  • Should I marry this person or the other?
  • Should I buy this house or another?

 

Following God and walking in the Spirit means that we endeavor to learn all we can about the nature and plan of God and live in agreement and cooperation with him. It means conforming our lives to the example of Jesus Christ, spiritually and morally, yet realizing that we are not him.

When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread…,” he did not mean that we should only pray and wait for God to send food from heaven. He meant that we should ask and trust our heavenly Father to bless the work of our hands as we labor diligently to provide for ourselves (Exodus 23:12; Psalm 128:12; Proverbs 13:11, 14:23, 21:25, 24:27; Ecclesiastes 9:10).

If we will be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18) and live in agreement and cooperation with the Spirit (Romans 8:4-14), and so abide in Christ (John 15:4-7), then we can rest assured that he will lead us in his will on a daily basis. That is, he will guide us in fulfilling that part of his plan that involves us. Whether you are a butcher, a baker, or candlestick maker, God wants to live in you and shine his light into the world through you as you go about your daily life following Christ. Live out the redemptive power of the gospel in faith, righteousness and love while following the passions of your heart and exercising the gifts and abilities you possess as a unique child of God.

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither work nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.” (Ecclesiastes 9:19, NIV)

So, as you are praying from a sincere heart of faith, “Thy kingdom come, thy will by done, on earth as it is in heaven,” pursue the career that best suites your interests, personality and talents; buy the car that makes the most sense for your needs and budget; and live the life that God has given you with joy and confidence in the promise of his continuous presence and gracious care. Accept and surrender to God’s sovereign will and let his nature and words be the master-plan while you work out the daily details as one who is made in his image, utilizing all the powers of reason and creativity and free-will that he has given you.

Do not fail to pray and ask for divine guidance, especially with regard to major decisions; but do not wait for nor expect God to make your decisions for you. He gave you a brain and he expects you to use it. Do not waste the precious life that God has given you waiting for him to live it for you. It is yours and you are his. Live your life for the glory of God, which involves being the best you that you can be by, through and in his grace.

T. K. Weber, 3/25/2010

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1 Comment »

  1. Thank you for a significant blog on one of life’s most critical topics. Recently I read one of the best Christain books I have ever read — and it was on this topic. It is called “Thy Will Be DOne On Earth” by award winning author Robert Lloyd Russell. Thanks again.

    Comment by Butch — March 26, 2010 @ 5:24 am


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