Psalm 119:57-60 (NLT) Lord, you are mine! I promise to obey your words! With all my heart I want your blessings. Be merciful as you promised. I pondered the direction of my life, and I turned to follow your laws. I will hurry, without delay, to obey your commands.
A friend sent me a devotion concerning relationships. It was directed right at my heart and the words the instruction I needed. It spoke of “navigating” relationships. Immediately a ship came to my mind. As I continued to ponder the word, the first thing to do would be define it. The word “navigate” means to move on or through. It is to direct or manage a set course. To find one’s way in, over and across. To move or progress in logical sequence. Finally, to plan, direct, or plot one’s path or position. Navigation requires a plan. It means to move on which is absolutely necessary to get over rifts in relationships like waves in the sea. God has a plan and purpose for our life that contains a future and hope found in Jesus Christ. We must decide this is the best direction for our life and determine to follow His Way. How much easier would this be without the wind, waves, and storms of life that constantly rock the boat? What about the people one must encounter, engage and enlist in this journey? We all have the propensity to be shipwrecked in our journey. In fact, we must incorporate bad weather, certain seasons, and constant interruption in the formula of faith. Faith makes the impossible possible. Hope is the anchor for our soul. But no one wants to test the anchors strength knowing the price paid for such assurance. It is essential to having a true relationship with Jesus Christ that one navigates life rather than being carried back and forth by the winds of change, storms that threaten our position, and the burdens of life that sink our ship.
“I pondered the direction of my life.” Why am I here? What is my promise? Where am I headed? What is my purpose? Do I have a plan? Who will provide for this journey? Will I make it to the end? Have you ever really thought about your purpose? The plan of God hidden in your heart when upon creation that has been on the verge of breaking out your entire life. God’s Plan for us contains a future which means it is hinged on eternity and hope which implies the necessity of Jesus Christ who is our hope. Faith remains illogical until the Word of God is hidden in our heart and etched in our mind. It is the direction to our destination. It is key to releasing our purpose and receiving the promise. Hope does not gain weight or have substance apart from one’s ability to trust the Lord. Who will trust the Lord if He is not needed?
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT) Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
Trust is essential to navigate this life into Eternity. Faith requires trusting and believing a God who cannot be seen only experienced. To rely on Jesus Christ means exhausting our strength to make His Power perfect in weakness. No one wants to be considered weak but it is a requirement for grace. To admit that I have absolutely no control over my destiny outside of Christ and I cannot earn the unfathomable gift of unconditional love, overwhelming mercy and eternal life that I have been given. It all sounds wonderful. Too good to be true.
Faith is established through trials and temptations. Every day there are choices to be made to determine the destination and outcome of that day. We choose whether or not blessing will find its way from heaven to us. Our choices determine if the Glory of God will envelope us or we barely make it through the day. Just as one decides what to wear on our body, we decide the level of God’s Armor that is incorporated as well. All choices. Navigation is the choice to plan, direct or plot our path or position. To choose Christ is to set our sights on heaven. Anything else is a compromise that leads elsewhere. Dependence of God is a requirement to trust Him in all things. Not some things, but everything. “Seek His Will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.”
Psalm 34:11-14 (NLT) Come, my children, and listen to me, and I will teach you to fear the Lord. Does anyone want to live a life that is long and prosperous? Then keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies! Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
Saul had it all. He was a Child of God by birth boasting to be a Hebrew, Israelite and Son of Abraham. He had the golden ticket or so he thought. However, one encounter with Jesus Christ gave him a new name and identity. When Saul became Paul, his life changed for the better. He now had a future and hope. However, his natural life would be forfeited. He decided it better to be poured out as a liquid offering before God than to be exalted by man. His conversion to Christ released a hailstorm of hate by his former religion. They persecuted him relentlessly. In 2 Corinthians 11, Paul lists his trials – “I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.” Never once have I endured any of these things to share the Good News with others. Not one time have I gone without or been abused physically for being a Christian. Have you?
To turn one’s life over to Jesus Christ and follow Him comes at a cost. It will require change in order to maintain the Way. His Way not our own. It will be a constant battle inwardly to surrender our life to Him fully. It will be inconvenient and uncomfortable most of the time. It will be worth it to endure these minor things to be one with Jesus. Looking at all Paul endured, it is clear that I have not even come close to giving my all to the Lord. To navigate this life by faith will cause us to be put in many situations that require us to “move on” and “go through” some things. It will put us in a position of trust because our personal strength is not enough. Faith must become logical so that when faced with uncertainty – it is the clear choice. Emotions cannot drive our existence any more. We have given up our right to be right to be clothed in righteousness that we could not afford but merely accept. We must live on purpose. To be of the same attitude as Christ.
Philippians 2:5-11 (NLT) You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Paul had the same attitude as Christ. He was a Jew of all Jews. Highly revered and respected by religion, but when he met Jesus everything changed for him. Just one encounter with the Light of God’s Love gave him a desire to know him more and completely change from his opulent lifestyle to be an offering poured before the Lord. The attitude of Christ is humility. It is the rudder needed to properly navigate this life. Paul boasted in the Power of Christ at work in his life despite the overwhelming circumstances and difficult conditions it produced. His faith in the Lord overcame his self-confidence and need for pride in this life. He didn’t care what anyone else thought. He was not concerned about where his next meal or next trial came from. Paul wanted to be with the Lord and take as many people with him as he could. He wanted to be with Jesus so he became like the Lord giving up his life to have new life eternally. What about you? Do you have the same attitude as Christ? Are you willing to live like Paul?
I Timothy 1:19 (NLT) Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked.
In Acts 27 & 28, Paul is again a prisoner. He is put on a ship headed for Rome. During the trip, Paul could sense trouble ahead and shared his concerns with the captain. “I believe there is trouble ahead if we go on – shipwreck, loss of cargo and danger to our lives as well.” The captain chose to listen to another captain and not the man of God. After setting off on their course, there was an immediate change in the weather and the wind became typhoon strength. The men did everything possible to secure the ship and its cargo. After several days of fighting the storm, Paul called the men together. “Men, you should have listened to me in the first place and not left Crete. You would have avoided all this damage and loss. But take courage! None of you will lose your lives, even though the ship will go down. For last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me, and he said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Paul, for you will surely stand trial before Caesar! What’s more, God in his goodness has granted safety to everyone sailing with you.’ So take courage! For I believe God. It will be just as he said. But we will be shipwrecked on an island.” Most people would not find these words encouraging at all. Too often it is our expectation to avoid the storms and shipwrecks of life. Paul living for the Lord completely and having forewarned them is now on a ship destined for shipwreck.
The storms and shipwrecks of life teach us to cling to Christ. When the Word of the Lord came to pass and all the sailors made it safely to shore, Paul was gathering sticks to build a fire when a snake grabbed hold of him. He shook it off and continued while everyone watched him, judged him and waited for him to die. He didn’t. Many would come to know the same Christ before being rescued. If your boat is not rocking, you are too close to shore. Faith takes us out to sea where the wind and waves begin to swell around us. We learn to navigate such things by clinging to Christ. People cannot pull us through our course and direction must be focused on Jesus Christ. Close proximity to Christ does not end the storms of life including conflict and controversy. They are by design to bring us closer to Christ and expose the Light of His Love hidden inside of us. This will not happen if I choose to abandon ship. If I let loose of my faith to maintain control of this vessel. When I give up the direction of my life to divine destination it is a sacrifice of self that will be made evident as bits and pieces of me fall off and Jesus fills those voids.
Galatians 5:16-17 (NLT) So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.
I want to navigate this life all the way to eternity. I desire to fulfill God’s Plan for my life and have set my heart on Him. I must learn to constantly cling to faith and let go of everything else I find security in. I must humble myself before the Lord and all other people to have His Way by maintaining the same attitude. People are not the problem. People are my purpose. We are to use our freedom to serve one another in love – this is a total summation of the Law. I cannot do this walled in by pride, insecurity and doubt. Freedom is obtained in giving my life away. This makes hope the anchor for my soul. Keeps me from drifting back and forth or being tossed in the waves to and fro. Intentional Christianity requires carefully navigating our life including moving on, getting over, passing through and continuing on the course of faith set before us. I must pursue my calling over convenience and comfort embracing the thing called change. Thankfully I have the Word to direct me, and His Spirit to guide me all the way. I can live in the company of Jesus Christ – take full advantage of His Power in my weakness and enjoy the constant state of overcoming which He promised. It won’t be easy! It will be worth it!
Psalm 23:4-6 (NLT) Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.