Monday, September 26, 2016
The Trip or the Destination?
I am excited about tomorrow’s discussion and I hope you will be too. During a conversation with a few friends last week, including one going through a challenging time, it occurred to me that there was too much emphasis being placed on a particular outcome. I believe the Holy Spirit popped into my little head the notion that God is at least as interested in the process he is going through as He is the result. I shared that idea and one of the other guys built on it with the July 28th meditation from Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest. It is below:
"He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side . . . —
We tend to think that if Jesus Christ compels us to do something and we are obedient to Him, He will lead us to great success. We should never have the thought that our dreams of success are God’s purpose for us. In fact, His purpose may be exactly the opposite. We have the idea that God is leading us toward a particular end or a desired goal, but He is not. The question of whether or not we arrive at a particular goal is of little importance, and reaching it becomes merely an episode along the way. What we see as only the process of reaching a particular end, God sees as the goal itself.
What is my vision of God’s purpose for me? Whatever it may be, His purpose is for me to depend on Him and on His power now. If I can stay calm, faithful, and unconfused while in the middle of the turmoil of life, the goal of the purpose of God is being accomplished in me. God is not working toward a particular finish— His purpose is the process itself. What He desires for me is that I see “Him walking on the sea” with no shore, no success, nor goal in sight, but simply having the absolute certainty that everything is all right because I see “Him walking on the sea” (Mark 6:49). It is the process, not the outcome, that is glorifying to God.
God’s training is for now, not later. His purpose is for this very minute, not for sometime in the future. We have nothing to do with what will follow our obedience, and we are wrong to concern ourselves with it. What people call preparation, God sees as the goal itself.
God’s purpose is to enable me to see that He can walk on the storms of my life right now. If we have a further goal in mind, we are not paying enough attention to the present time. However, if we realize that moment-by-moment obedience is the goal, then each moment as it comes is precious."
Things to think about:
· Can you relate to the idea that if I am obedient, God will bless me with success?
o Does its natural corollary also follow (if I am not successful, am I being punished)?
· What do you think about the assertion that God’s purpose for you may be the exact opposite?
o How could that ever be a good thing?
· Chambers says that it really the process that matters to God
o Why would that be the place of emphasis?
· What do you think God’s vision for you is?
o Might be a little early in the morning for this question J
· Why the stress on now?
· Obedience seems to be the key
o What results from it is immaterial
o Is that easy or hard for you to accept?
· Can you share a time when you thought God was working towards one end and it turned out to be something else?
o What did you learn in the process?
· Are you going through a process today?
o How does this study help you think of it differently?