I’m amazed at how easy it is to get busy with all sorts of things that we can give God the credit for, even though He doesn’t lead us to do them. But although we need to use our brains to be innovative and creative, we need the laser focus of the Holy Spirit’s guidance in order to be preoccupied with what God wants us to apply our energies to this year.
Of course, it’s a fine line. We can simply claim divine inspiration for what we just want to do, or we can actually want to do that which we feel divinely inspired to do. Even then, we can know what God is calling us to, but want to force the timing, the strategy and the resources of the God-ideas of life against the guidance of leaders to whom we need to be accountable.
I find that, sometimes, people will acknowledge the need to be accountable to pastors, mentors, small group leaders and trusted friends, but then re-evaluate that accountability when they oppose what they are hearing from them! People change churches or jobs under the supposed guidance of God, when all along, there is one key issue at stake: who is really in control.
Leaders don’t always earn respect, so we need to be careful here, but does God lead people to come under the guidance of leaders only to then lead them away again? Sometimes he probably does and this makes judgments tricky. No-one can ultimately question someone else’s decisions with full knowledge of the background to them.
But we can assess the degree to which we ourselves are willing to yield control to God and to submit not only to Him, but to the leaders He has placed in our lives. Borrowing from the imagery of Ezekiel 47:1-12, I find that the more I submit to the river of God’s Spirit flowing in my life, the more I yield what I want to what He wants me to do and to where He wants to take me – this means taking my own feet off the ground, so to speak.
Does our servanthood, then, have at its heart a desire to do the will of God on our terms, or rather to do it in submission to a vision that is overseen by leaders who watch over us, as suggested in Hebrews 13:17?
Maybe a worthwhile thought in the midst of the restlessness many of us face in considering our plans and pursuits for the year ahead.