A couple of years ago, God asked us to move to a different church. It was one of the most difficult things to obey. I didn’t want to switch, but we felt Him speaking it to us over and over. We tested it by praying, “God, if this is you, and we’re hearing you right, then let these things happen.” After they happened, I reasoned those things could have “just happened”. We prayed again and asked for more signs, and He gave them. This went on for months because we didn’t want to move. Finally, I agreed to move, but told Him it was only going to be temporary.
It’s a difficult thing to follow God when it’s not when or where you want to go. People don’t understand why you’re picking up and moving. Others feel like you’re abandoning them because they don’t understand why either. We like to think going where God wants us to go is easy, but many times it isn’t. We like having roots planted, but if we are following where God leads, we have to be willing to be transplanted at any given moment.
After the children of Israel left Egypt, they followed God into the desert. Many times they questioned Him and wanted to return to where they came from. Over time, they learned to follow where He led. The Bible says, they followed God’s Shekinah glory wherever and whenever it lead. Numbers 9:22 says, “Whether the cloud stayed above the Tabernacle for two days, a month, or a year, the people of Israel stayed in camp and did not move on. But as soon as it lifted, they broke camp and moved on” (NLT).
They learned what you and I have to learn. We need to follow where God leads us whether it’s for a short while or a long time. If we are surrendered to His plan and purposes, we must always be willing to move. It’s not easy at times, but following where He leads results in growth, blessings and expanded territory. If God is calling you away from where you’ve been, it’s time to break camp and move. You may not know why or where God is leading, but following Him is always the right choice.
Photo by Ihor Malytskyi on Unsplash
When I lived in the Middle East, the U.S. Embassy would often tell us to change our routines and the way we went to work. We were told to find a different path, go in at different times and to be unpredictable in our routes. It was easy to take my route to the church each day. I would ride my bike over the flyover, go up a few blocks, turn left for one block and then go right. I waved each morning to the men at the bakery. I said, “Good morning” in Arabic to the furniture makers. I nodded at the guards at the intersections. I was comfortable in that route.
I think we love routine because we feel there’s safety in it. We can do it without thinking and it’s easy. We see the same things each day and they become ordinary to us. Changing routes and routines throws everything off. There are new sites, new people, and new patterns that cause us to have to be alert and to pay attention. We as Christians should be doing this in our lives often. Not only will it give us a heightened awareness of what’s around us, it can increase our circle of influence.
I pray each day for God to open my eyes to see what He wants me to see, but I keep the same routine and wonder why I’m not seeing anything. Changing routines and routes in our lives changes our perspective. It forces us out of the mundane and into the extraordinary. It allows God to reveal things to us that we couldn’t see from our old perspective. It helps us to see other people who need our help that weren’t in our path before. It keeps our lives fresh.
I’ve heard it said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. How can we expect God to move in our lives, open our eyes and change our perspective if we just keep doing the same old things over and over? We have to get out of what is familiar to us. We have to quit asking Him to put people in our path and start asking Him to put us in their path! If we want to grow, we have to be willing to change.
I’m not a person who likes change, but the company I work for believes in it and I’ve learned to adapt. Being comfortable doesn’t help you to be the best. It helps you fall into a false sense of security. It makes you think that what you’re doing is enough. The rich, young ruler who went to Christ was comfortable. He had kept all the commandments since he was a kid. He did what was right. Jesus asked Him to make a radical change to his routine and route. He couldn’t do it and walked away sad. He wanted different results while doing the same thing.
What routines and routes do you need to change? What is God asking you to do differently than you’ve always done? Are you asking Him to put people in your path or to put you in their path? Changing isn’t easy and doesn’t produce immediate results always. It isn’t comfortable so we typically run from it. Don’t be afraid to ask God what paths, routines and routes in your life you need to change. Once you ask, have the faith to make those changes so you don’t end up like the rich, young ruler.
Today is the first day in a new office. There’s first day jitters like I experienced as a kid on the first day of school. All the familiar faces will be here, but it will be in a new environment. Boxes will need to be unpacked. Desks will need to be arranged. You’ll have to find out where everyone sits so you can find them when you need them. There’s a sense of excitement and nervousness at the same time. I can’t wait to go see the new place.
I wonder if that’s what Heaven will be like. It’s the familiar faces we’ve known just in an unfamiliar setting. We’ll get acquainted with how the streets of gold are layer out. Find our bearings around the sea of glass. Walk in awe through the pearly gates as we wonder in amazement at a place that was designed just for us. There’s a home there built with us in mind. Designed specifically to our standards. I can’t wait to go see it.
Jesus said in John 14 that He is preparing a place for us. In verse three, He says, “When everything’s ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me.” Just like at work where we’ve been anticipating this move, we need to be anticipating His return. We don’t know when He’ll come for us or when our life will be over and we go there. The important thing is to be ready at any given moment.
You don’t realize how much stuff you’re holding on to until it’s time to move. I threw away so much stuff last week because I realized I really didn’t need it. I started thinking about how much stuff in my own life that I’ve been holding onto that I need to release. Things like forgiveness for those who’ve wronged me, grudges against others who’ve made me angry, resentment for not being dealt a hand as good as others in life and so many other things we pack into our lives and hold onto.
When we hold onto those things, our hands aren’t free to receive all that God has for us. God has great things in store for each of us, but so many times we haven’t freed ourselves of the things that so easily weigh us down. We haven’t given them over to God and we end up putting ourselves into a yoke of bondage. God’s desire is that we live free of any yokes, especially those that are self imposed.
If you were moving to Heaven today, what would you need to pack and what would you need to throw away in your own life? What have you been holding onto that you don’t need? Why hold onto it any more? Free yourself today from those things that weigh you down. You will find freedom when you release them. God has already offered us freedom. He’s just waiting for us to take off the unnecessary weights and things that hold us down. Walk in freedom today!