STRENGTH FOR THE WEEK: Flood Church’s Weekly Devotional
SERIES 2: The Sin Also Known As
“The Son of Man came to seek and save the lost” Luke 19:10
Before a person can be said to be lost, they themselves must first lose three things: a credible guide, a credible map, and a credible road.
A Credible Guide:
The best way to go through any terrain you have never traveled in before is to follow someone who knows the way and who wants to get you safely to the other side. If you have no guide, or have one who does not know the way intimately, or have one who has no desire to get you safely through, then any attempt to cross this vast and boundless jungle called life will leave you lost. The Gospel says that Jesus came because of God’s assessment of our condition, that we are in a state of eternal isolation from the only guide credible enough to get us through this dark terrain filled with devils and bring us safely home. To be found by God means to be rescued from a life of pretending we can lead ourselves to true holiness, to true happiness, and to true healing. To be found means to be returned to a life of following God’s leading throughout life by humbling ourselves enough to seek and submit to the guidance of his Spirit. There is much interest these days in the power of God’s Spirit, or what the Spirit of God can do to make our passage through the terrain easier, faster, and smoother. However, while God has promised to answer our prayers and move by his Spirit to come to our aid in the parts of the journey that pass through dark tunnels, steep mountains, and slippery valleys, such help or answered prayer is no proof that we are not lost. God is kind enough to help the lost when they cry for help, but he will only save the lost when they surrender to his leading. It is not the power of God’s Spirit in answer to our prayers that proves our sonship and salvation from our lost state, but our obedience to God’s Spirit in response to his leading. “Those who are led by God’s Spirit are children of God”.
A Credible Map:
Under normal circumstances, if we have a credible guide, then having a credible map is redundant. However, our spiritual predicament requires both. This is because God has concluded in his wise judgment that there is more to the journey we are on than merely getting safely to our intended destination. A map engages us in the journey, raises our level of responsibility for the journey, and gives us access to the assurance that we are on the right track every time we find that things are precisely as they are described on the map. A map can have parts that are difficult to figure out, or more accurately, the terrain can have parts that are more difficult to navigate as directed by the map. Just because the map says that the best route to take is between two mountains does not mean it will feel like the best route when you try it, or that the attempt to squeeze through the tiny passage will not require you to first lose weight, or that it will not leave you with bruises at the end. It has pleased God to make our growth through the journey as much a priority as our arrival at the destination he has prepared for us, and while a guide requires obedient trust, a map requires and generates growth. Looking at a map for ourselves and sticking to it shapes our mind and understanding into the likeness of the mind of the one who drew it. In our spiritual journey, the map is God’s Word, and our interaction with it and adjustments to it make us a reflection of the one we have followed. “You have been born again through the living and enduring Word of God”.
A Credible Road:
A credible guide and a credible map are no good if you are on the wrong road. And we have not began to be found if we are trusting our own way to get home to our Father. No amount of knowledge of God’s Word will save us from our lostness, for a credible map is useless to our rescue from lostness if we are on the wrong road. No amount of spirituality through moving encounters with the Spirit of God will save us from our lostness, for a credible guide is useless to our rescue from lostness if we insist on having his guidance on roads we have chosen. There is a popular fallacy that the journey to our spiritual home has many roads, that no one road is more right than others, that we should not let anyone tell us that we are going the wrong way. Travelers will tell you that this notion is not only false, but stupid. A traveler does not get to decide which path to the top of the mountain is true. A patient does not prescribe his own cure simply because there are many prescriptions available. We must accept that we do not know the way, and while we must decide rightly or wrongly which one of the many purported ways to God is true, we must accept that our choice of any path does not make it the true one. Jesus Christ has said, “I am the way. No one come to God as Father except through me.” We can take it or leave it, but if we leave it, we must leave it because we think the path he offers leads to a dead end, not because we have entertained a silly notion that the paths others offer are as capable of getting us home as he is. We cannot take a road and leave it too, not even by pretending that “another” road is really just the “same” road. There is only one way to get to Rome, and that is to take a road that actually ends up there. Every other road is false, and choosing to take it will not make it true, even if chosen sincerely.
Keep the Faith