Thursday, May 5, 2011

My Compass is Broke!

It is pretty weird when I go to Chicago. That city is the only place I have ever been where I get completely turned around. No matter which way I think I should go, it ends up the opposite of the correct route. Seriously, even when I look at Google Maps, or better yet, Bing Maps and see the path highlighted for me, I STILL end up going the wrong way. Again, ONLY IN CHICAGO. Anywhere else and my bearings are right on.
Well, I had another one of those times in Chicago this week. I now KNOW the right way to get from the hotel to the office. It still felt totally wrong though. Everything in me was screaming I was headed the wrong way, but I just pushed on and continued down the street that experience had taught was correct. Then I reached my destination. Whew! Fortunately, after that I just needed to hail a cab to get to the airport and return home to Atlanta where my sense of direction miraculously returns to normal.
Then, on the airplane I got back into my current book, “The Christian Atheist” by Craig Groeschel. I read the chapter that talks about “believing God, but pursue happiness at any cost.” I have already spent a ton of brain time on this thought myself. I already came to similar conclusions as Mr. Groeschel too. But, just having the real world feelings I just had in Chicago, the idea really took hold. Then, I read the Proverbs Craig points to, “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death” (Pr. 14:12 and 16:25 too). Now I’m not saying my out of kilter sense of direction in Chi-town could have led me to die, but that awkward feeling…it’s just something to look out for.
See, we are in a world that isn’t our home. We are out of place here on earth waiting for a time when we will be in our true home with God. Until then, we are outsiders (happens to be one of my favorite songs by Need to Breathe) in this world, and we should feel awkward here. When we feel at home, when we feel comfortable, when we feel happy, it’s time to be a little more cautious. Hmm, did I just say “we shouldn’t be happy?” Sort of, but not really. It’s fine to be happy, but what is it that is making us happy? Am I happy because I am within God’s will and serving Him? Or am I happy because of what I can accumulate, build, create on my own? Or even worse, am I happy because I think God is serving me?
See, to be pursue happiness, is to pursue something other than God and always leads us into prideful sin. I think this is why Proverbs 16:18-19 correctly warns against pride and aligning with people who are filled with pride. It always takes us away from God.
I guess I can boil these thoughts down to this: I should not be comfortable here. I should never feel like I have this world figured out. I should always feel just as I do in Chicago – backwards and upside down. If the world says I should go left, there is a really good chance I ought to go right if I want to get to my Godly destination. It will often feel wrong, but our feelings aren’t what should be leading us. God, through His Word and His Spirit is what leads us. Our feelings listen to the world; our prayers and submission to the Spirit help us to listen to God and His will.