Friday, August 10, 2001
During a recent summer with our "On Eagles' Wings" Native American outreach team, we had some 5,000 miles to cover in about five weeks. In order to make it to all the reservations to which we had accepted invitations, we really needed a comfortable bus. And God wonderfully provided that through some brothers in Christ. Now our bus driver, Josh, really knew his way across the West, and my wife really didn't. It was often her job to drive another vehicle that we needed. That meant traveling many unfamiliar miles - but she found a way to simplify the process. She just kept her eyes on that bus. If Josh turned, she turned. If Josh stopped, she stopped. She made sure she could even recognize the lights of his bus in case they got separated. She said this trip that could have been so difficult and confusing was actually pretty relaxed and simple. She didn't try to figure out the route for herself. She had a great trip because one thing governed all her choices - following the man who knew the way.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Simplifying Your Journey".
Now, our word for today from the Word of God comes from John 10, verses 3 and 4. "The sheep listen to (the shepherd's) voice. He calls His own sheep by name and He leads them out. When He has brought out all His own, He goes ahead of them." That one verse has been an anchor for us over and over as we have moved into unfamiliar or difficult territory in our life. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is leading us this direction, and He's traveling this road ahead of us. And He knows where He's going.
And what do smart sheep do? Try to figure out where they're going to find some good pasture...or try to figure out which road is safe and which one is dangerous...or move in the direction that looks best to them? Nope. They do what my wife did traveling in that unfamiliar territory out West. They quit trying to figure it out for themselves and follow the One who knows every mile of the road! In John 10:27, Jesus says, "My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me."
Maybe you've been trying to fix things...control things...manipulate things. What a great way to get lost and confused--and to miss your destination. Jesus' most fundamental command is simply, "Follow Me." Are you? That's more than going to His meetings or believing His beliefs...or doing His work...keeping His rules. We're talking about how you determine which way you're going to go in the decisions that really matter in your life.
You might say, "Well, following a bus is one thing, but how do I follow Jesus? How do I know which way He's going?" Good question. Good answer in Psalm 119:105. "Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." He shows you what step to take next as you begin each day with His Book, the Bible, asking, "Lord, what's Your word for me today?"
His answer may be to show you verses that focus on one specific part of you and your life. Whatever that verse lights up, you make it your conscious assignment for that day to do that part of you Jesus' way. You apply that verse to something you will face today. Through the accumulation of those daily obediences, God will lead you on the path to His larger will. The right you will make the right choices.
The Spirit of God uses the applied Word of God to lead the child of God to the will of God. So your job is much the same as my wife's was on her journey into new territory--find out where your Leader is going and just get behind Him and go there. Speed up when He speeds up. Stop when He stops. Turn when He turns.
You wouldn't believe the freedom and the relief it is to realize you don't have to figure all this out any more. Following Jesus sure simplifies your journey--and guarantees you'll reach your destination.