Probably the greatest thing we must realise, if we grasp the importance of the era in which we live, is that we must “live a life worthy of the calling we have received” (Ephesians 4:1). You are incredibly important. Your decisions matter. Your church is important. You have been born “for such a time as this.” I want to urge you to live with great significance.
My great, great uncle was the explorer, pilot and sailor Sir Francis Chichester. He was renowned for his advances in navigation, his bold piloting of planes across the globe and subsequent sailing around the world, single handed.
At one point he travelled cross the Atlantic for many days before he realised the biscuit tin next to his compass was magnetic, which of course, adjusted his compass reading slightly!
He had been going off course for days!
Now, being slightly off course matters little for an hour – but days later he was miles from where he should be!
I have found the same can be in church life. As we go through the ups and downs, the challenges and joys of life, we can find a “magnetic biscuit tin” has lodged itself next to the compass of our hearts and activities, and we are more off course than we might ever know. Success, failure, power, conflict; these all come to buffet our hearts and if not tended to carefully, unseen powers can shift us off course.
Being off course one degree matters little on day one, but in year 10 and year 15, we are miles from the original plan of heaven for our churches, lives and lands.
And what about a century or two later?
The Sins of Jeroboam
Jeroboam followed King Solomon, and brought idolatry to the high places of Israel, specifically in Dan and Bethel. This was wicked in God’s sight. If you continue to read through 1 and 2 Kings, you’ll discover that 15 generations later, the children of Israel were still “continuing in the sins of Jeroboam!” the ripple effects of his errors unchecked!
What we do, how we choose to live, can echo for generations, unhindered. This is scary – We must make sure our echo is pure!
In my book Stronger: Building a powerful interior world, I told the story of Jonathan Edwards. An investigation into the famed 18th century revival preacher showed that, of the 1,394 known descendants of Jonathan Edwards, 100 became preachers and missionaries, 100 lawyers, 80 public officials, 75 army and navy officers, 65 college professors, 60 physicians, 60 prominent authors, 30 judges, 13 college presidents, 3 United States senators, and one a vice-president of the United States. His generational echo was one of power, purity and divine influence.
Compare him with another man of that era, Max Jukes. Mr Jukes had 310 descendants who died as paupers, 150 were criminals, 100 were drunkards, 7 were murderers, and more than half of the women were prostitutes. His impurity and weakness also echoed for generations.
It would seem that our decisions in life echo on for a long time! You are going to leave behind a legacy of decisions, opinions and priorities. You must, in this vital Church Age, make sure our echo comes from our Fathers heart!
The Ways of God
Like Moses, we need to ask God “teach me your ways”. Moses had stumbled across God in the form of a burning bush in the desert, but now he wanted to know how to access God’s favour at will:
“If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favour with you.”
Moses wanted to continue to find God’s favour, and he knew that if he knew God’s ways, he could find God’s favour. God has WAYS that lead to favour. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to just stumble across occasional favour, like Moses at the burning bush. I want to know how to walk in God’s blessing, goodness and favour every day, in every way! That would be an amazing life!
Now God’s ways are like laws. By that I don’t mean “rules,” as in “commands” – but more dynamic realities like “The Law of Gravity.” Ways in which God thinks. Ways that He has made the world to work; and if we co-operate with them, we will enjoy life in His favour.
You can disagree with the law of gravity all you want, but if you jump out of a plane, you will go down, not up! In just the same way, God has made the world to work in a certain way spiritually and relationally. Discover those ways, and you’ll get how God is intending to bless you, and be able to co-operate with Him.
Ezekiel 47 talks of a river from God’s temple…it’s ankle, knee, then waist deep. Finally it becomes “a river you cannot cross” (Ezekiel 47:5). A powerful movement that you cannot traverse. Your only choice is to go with it.
The closer you get to God, the more you have to co-operate with His ways. In the deep ends of God, where His glory is at work, He is un-traversable, uncross-able. You must learn to co-operate with His methods in the coming season, and not try to traverse them.
Now these ways are very simple, but they are not always easy!
Like King David let’s pray Psalm 63:8 “My soul follows hard AFTER you!” I want to cling, cleave, stick with, follow closely and join myself to God and His ways, knowing that by doing that, I’ll be blessed.