“Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit.” (from Romans 7:6 NLT)
Most every summer, we load up the family, and take a family vacation. Part of the fun is going to places where we have never been. While this sounds wonderful and exciting – trips to new places create tons of problems. Where do you stay? Where do you go to eat? And are those places any good at all? What kind of activities will be enjoyable? Which ones are “lame?” How do we avoid the “tourist traps?” How can we make everything fit within our budget? And the most important question of all… what can we do to keep everyone in the family happy (and not bored!)?
Having family fun is a whole lot of work.
So what I end up doing, is pouring over websites. Gathering intel, sorting through reams of information – planning our foray into the unknown. It is a lengthy and exhaustive process (and my wife wanders why I don’t enjoy vacations nearly as much as she does?!).
I mean, you can really bomb a vacation by doing all the wrong things, going to all the wrong places – always trying to have a memorable time, yet not making the right choices. There’s a lot of pressure to provide something worthwhile and meaningful – while staying within a strict budget.
Did I mention this is all so stressful and exhausting?
But… what if you actually knew someone who was an expert on the area where you intend to travel. They knew exactly where to go, all the right places to see, all the cost-saving measures, all the hidden gems of the area, all the short-cuts to avoid the traffic and the crowds – and they knew exactly how to get you there with the least amount of stress possible.
What would that be worth to the wary traveler?
Someone has well said… “You don’t need a map – if you know the one who made the map.”
In a very real sense, that is exactly how we are supposed to live this new life in Jesus. The “new you” comes with the friendship of The Expert Traveler. On this journey of life, we do not need to depend upon our knowledge or abilities – we can readily, and simply, depend upon His expertise.
What is more, in inviting Him into our lives – we have, actually invited Him to ride along with us.
The Bible calls this new way: “living in (or by) the Spirit.”
We used to have to try our best, work out all the details ourselves, and try to live by a strict itinerary or agenda. Many times we thought we were doing our best – but it hardly ever turned out to be that way. Somehow, in all our efforts to have a great trip – we always seem to mess it up.
But I have some great news… God’s new plan for the “new you” comes with a whole new way of doing things. You don’t have to rely upon a road map, or a guidebook (even though these things are good) – you have the Mapmaker and the Guide riding along with you, on your journey.
And that’s exactly the way He wants it to be.
As human beings, we tend to like road maps and guidebooks… and rules and rituals. They allow us to feel like we are able to gauge our journey, measure our progress – be the expert, ourselves.
But God is more interested in the journey itself – and in being with us. He wants to come along and bring His guidance and expertise to where we are going.
We want to make it about the way we travel. He just wants to make it about our time together.
He’s kind of funny that way.
Prayer focus: God, help me to lean completely on Your Presence, Your guidance, Your Voice.