In John Ortberg’s book Faith and Doubt, he tells of a common experience for Western missionaries. Traveling through jungle sections of the terrain they would ask villagers for directions to their desired destinations. “We have a compass, map and co-ordinates, could you point us to the correct path?” The villager knows precisely how to get the Missionaries there and offers to take them himself. The Westerner respond, “No that’s okay. I don’t want a guide, just directions.” The villager says, I” I know where you want to go, but I must take you there myself. You must follow me.”
We prefer directions, principles steps and keys, because that leaves us in control. If I’m holding the map then I’m still in charge. If I have a guide I must relinquish control. The Christian life is like this, we don’t need directions, we need a guide to get us through this sin tainted world. Christ did not say, “Read My book and it will guide you. He said, “Follow Me.” We need His Spirit guiding us from within. Isaiah 30:21 Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” Whenever you turn to the right or the left.
Speaking of following Christ, in the book, Follow Me, the authors surveyed thousands of churches and found that Christians fit into four categories:
- Exploring Christ- Characterized by the statement, “I believe in God, but my faith is not a significant part of my life.”
- Growing in Christ- Summed up with the comment, “I believe in Jesus and am working on what it means to know Him.”
- Close to Christ-defined as, “Depending on Jesus for daily guidance.”
- Christ centered-Which entails, “My relationship with Christ is the most important bond in my life, which guides everything I do.”
Where do you find yourself on this scale? As we enter the new year, I encourage all of us to recognize where we are on the spiritual growth chart and take our souls to the next level. Let’s personally and as a congregation, become deeper Christians!
–By Rev. Dr. William Lewis