Sunday, October 6, 2019

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Let the Spirit Lead

One of the most difficult things for me to do is to allow the Spirit to lead me. Since I am a control freak and a type-a personality who must be in total control of everything, I find myself slipping back into my worldly ways and wrestling control of my life away from the Lord. One of my professional skills is project management. Although most, if not all businesses, prize that sort of skill, it means nothing when it comes to my Christian life and my desire to serve the Father. I have tried very hard to allow the Lord to guide and direct my steps. As I start to feel stress and pressure in my life, I, almost instinctively, snatch back control of my life from the Lord and try to manage whatever situation I am facing. It is only after making a mess of things when I realize what I have done. Like the prodigal son in Jesus’ parable, I go back to the Father and ask for forgiveness. I relinquish my control of my life back to Him and let Him guide my steps, actions and thoughts.

For many, like myself, it is so easy to take control of our lives and just tell God that you have everything under control. But, do we really have things under control? Early this week, I was sitting in the middle of rush hour traffic. In just a few short minutes, things changed for the worse. Traffic came to a screeching halt and I sat motionless for almost four hours. Later I found out that someone tried to cross I-20, one of the busiest highways, at six in the morning and was hit and killed by a motorist. That accident started a chain reaction that resulted in a ten-car pile-up that shut down I-20 for hours. Ambulances, fire trucks, police cars and several other emergency vehicles swarmed to the location of the accident.

Each person probably woke up that morning with no clue or thought of being in an accident. Each person stuck in the middle of the gridlock didn’t believe that they would be late to work by hours. No one could have guessed that, within a few seconds, a single misstep by a man trying to cross the busiest highway in Atlanta during the early morning hours would change the lives of hundreds if not thousands of people.

In chaos theory, a branch of mathematics that studies random events and how those events could come together to cause a bigger series of events that cascades into even bigger series of events, there is a very interesting term for how all of these random, small events could add up to bigger and bigger events which affect more and more constituent elements of a system. It is called “the butterfly effect”.  

The butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences to a later state. Put simply, imagine a butterfly that lands on the nose of a cow. The cow is spooked and it runs. That scared cow starts a stampede that results in a herd of cattle running towards a man on horseback. His horse gets spooked and throws him off and he is killed. That man might have created a miracle cure for cancer. 

This example is a gross exaggeration of the butterfly effect, but you get the point. One thing can lead to another and so on until it finally ends with a big impact to a lot of people. Our lives are the same way. One thing outside of our control can lead to disaster or devastation in our lives in just a short period of time.

So, thinking that you can control everything and not rely on God to give you peace is a true expression of arrogance. As God’s children, we must rely on Him daily. He provides for our needs and watches over us. 

Think of how Joshua may have felt when Moses called him to be the new leader of Israel. Joshua would be taking the place of Moses. Those are some big shoes to fill. But, Moses gives Joshua the best advice and words that any leader passing on the mantle of leadership to someone else could give.

In the thirty-first chapter of Deuteronomy, Moses tells Joshua, “Be strong and courageous! For you will lead these people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors he would give them. You are the one who will divide it among them as their grants of land. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.

Let us break this down a bit. Moses first tells Joshua to be strong and courageous and that God had made a promise to His people. Because God keeps His word, Joshua has nothing to fear or worry about. God will be there with him personally.

God tells you the same thing daily. Don’t be afraid. Don’t worry about anything. The Lord has everything under control. Just like the Israelites, we, too, will go through some hardships, but, in the end, everything will work out and the glory will be God’s. So, don’t try to do things on your own. Give it to God and He will lift you up in victory at the right time.

In his letter to the Galatians, Paul, in chapter 5, writes, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.

Paul tells us that in all aspects of our lives we should follow the Spirit and not be conceited or jealous of one another. It is so easy for us to follow our own sinful nature and try to control things. If we solve our problems on our own, we take credit for it and do not give glory to God. We begin to move God out of the center of our lives and replace him with our own abilities. We no longer look to God for help or guidance. We no longer follow the lead of the Spirit. 

But, we must remain true to God in our actions. He has promised us so much and continues to bless us daily. He showers us daily with His blessings and gifts. His biggest gift is eternal life which He gave us through His son, Jesus.

As you go through this week and face problems, always remember that you have a choice. You can choose to allow God to direct your life through the leading of the Spirit or you can snatch back control and try to do things on your own. The choice is yours to make. But, if you allow God to take control and be master of your life, you can definitely stand firm in His grace.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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