Friday, January 20, 2006

Life in the Back Seat

**A special thanks to Pastor Neil Smith for giving me something to think about. What I thought about is as follows.

They said, "Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top {will reach} into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth."Gen. 11:4

I drive a lot. I spend a good amount of time daily in my car, going to work, or to the store, or wherever I need to go. There is one thing I can't stand when out on the road with someone, be it my wife, or anyone else. That is not being the one behind the wheel. Not that I really like driving that much, but I like to drive because I like to be in control. I want to determine where we are going, and dictate what happens along the way. I want things to run smoothly, and I want to get where we are going ASAP. When I am not driving, I don't have that control. We get that way with our lives to, don't we?

In the scripture above, we are meeting up with a group of people who decided that they were also in the driver's seat. These folks had a vision, and they had the manpower to achieve it. That almost sounds like the making of great ministry to the Lord. But this was anything but that. These people had selfish ambition to make a great name for themselves, and let the world know how great they were. You see, these folks were descended from Noah, and if you recall, God had given him a command to be fruitful and multiply, to replenish the earth. Noah and his family did just that. These people a few hundred years later now had different plans. Life was all about them. It was certainly not about God.

It reminds me of another event in the Bible, that of Peter rebuking Jesus for his mission of going to Calvary's cross as a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. Peter, upon hearing this come out of Jesus' mouth, took him aside and began to rebuke him. "Lord, this will never happen to you!" This man Peter did not understand the plan of God, and how that the Christ of God, the Messiah, was come to be a "sacrificial lamb", to have our sin laid upon him, so that we may be forgiven. This man who just minutes before had voiced an amazing revelation that Jesus was indeed the Christ, the Son of the Living God, now received one of the strongest rebukes anyone could get. "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's."

Ouch! That hurts coming from Jesus. But it was true. Let's look a little bit at the Fall of Lucifer, now Satan. Satan was an angel of great power. Imagine this mighty angel before God, worshipping and honoring him. Yet, this angel began to desire the power for himself, and he chose to rebel against God. Isaiah says of him in the fourteenth chapter: "For thou hast said in thine heart, 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.'" (vs.13-14). Satan's sin was that he didn't stay in his proper place, but decided to try and outdo God.

That was Peter's problem, too. His place was one of following, not leading. The second he got all over Jesus about the cross, he took a step in front of him. Peter truthfully was more interested in a victorious Jesus wiping out the Roman occupiers and seeing the Kingdom of God established. Neither he, nor the rest of the disciples, could fathom what Jesus was going to do. Not only what Jesus was doing, but what they would have to do as well. They were called as disciples of Christ to follow his example, and to take up their own cross, not necessarily a physical cross, but to lay down their ambitions, their desires, even their ideas of what God's Kingdom should be like.

Yes, we like to be in the driver's seat. But the truth is, we don't even belong in the front passanger side! That's why I can't stand the bumper sticker that says, "God is my co-pilot". No, I'm not flying this plane, I'm like the flight attendant serving peanuts and Pepsi to those along for the ride. I'm going where he takes me, and serving others along the way. Our job is to submit ourselves to God, and follow him wherever he leads us.

God bless!

4 comments:

A Christian Prophet said...

Hah! Try doing nothing on your own! I made the pledge to listen inside and do only as told. Whew! What a ride! I have been greatly helped by the messages from the Holy Spirit on The Holy Inheritance blog. It turns out there is never anything to fear.

Anonymous said...

Quote: "I have been greatly helped by the messages from the Holy Spirit on The Holy Inheritance blog. It turns out there is never anything to fear. " (end quote)

You're right- there's nothing to fear but God Himself. However, I would stay far away from the strange blogs you are promoting. There seems to be much deception. I'll be praying for you.

Your post was excellent however mpsoundingboard

michigan preacher said...

Thank you, anonymous.

Neil said...

Often on long trips my wife offers to drive...almost ner happens. Last Thursday she picked me up from the airport, we went out to eat and she drove home...immediately I found myself urging her to drive differently...she wasn't driving bad, I just like to drive.

I've also found that it's quite easy to do the same thing spiritually. Ever notice that when we pray we do all the talking? Or how often we simply tell God what we want, in essence tell Him how and what to do? I catch myself using the word "I" so much of the time, not meaning to, but find that sometimes my agenda appears to be more important than His...I like to drive.

Perhaps we need a trip to Ezekiel's river...ankle deep, knee deep, waist deep, and then in so far that we have to swim and the current carries us...only when God is totally in control can we truly be what we're really supposed to be...I admit I'm not there yet, but am working on it!

Good post Jeff...you keep me thinking and stretching!

Neil