Do It Right: Tips for Spiritual Journey

Do It Right: Tips for Spiritual Journey July 25, 2023

Do It Right
Do It Right Image by Med Ahabchane from Pixabay

Expediency is not a hallmark of the spiritual journey in the wilderness. How much time it takes is not as important as much as the character of the heart. If you want to do it right, you must take the time to hear and follow God. Attempts to artificially speed up the journey’s timeline often create heartache and pain. Trying to force God’s hand or dragging Him into your proposed solutions are missteps along the journey. God continues to look at the condition of the heart and has no problem allowing the setbacks and consequences of your own creation to take their toll.

A Promised Land, But No Children

Abraham had a dilemma. God promised him descendants, but he had no children. And he was old. So he took matters into his own hands. He had a child with someone other than his wife. His wife was angry and bitter and began to mistreat the other woman. That child was not the child of promise but became a nation that was a constant adversary to Abraham’s descendants. Abraham was a wanderer, and though he was initially brave enough to follow God’s command, he struggled with some details. He lied about his wife only being his sister to avoid being killed (on more than one occasion) and had a son outside the bounds of marriage. Abraham learned through his journey how to trust in God and stop trying to bring about God’s promise through human means.

This next part is an encouragement but might be daunting to some. When we follow God, He always prepares us for the next part of the journey. God called Abraham to seek out a different place to live, a place he would give to Abraham and the future people of God. God said go, and Abraham trusted God to direct his actions. But God then promised a nation that outnumbered the stars in the sky and the sand on the shore. But Abraham had to wait, so he learned to trust God in the waiting.

Then after the child arrived, God gave Abraham a final test. God wanted to test the whole character of Abraham’s heart. God asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son. Abraham, having learned how to trust God in action, went. He climbed the mountain, waiting to see what God would do. And then, he began the ritual, only for God to stop him and provide a ram for the sacrifice. The Bible tells us that when God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, Abraham had so much faith and trust in God that he believed God would do the impossible. The more we practice trusting and following God, the more we will see more significant challenges that require more vital trust arriving in our paths.

Do It Right

There are plenty of examples of people taking the path of expediency other than Abraham in the Bible. Aaron and the golden calf, the Israelite army losing the Ark of the Covenant in battle, and Ananias and Sapphira attempted to circumvent the need to wait on God. They incorrectly believed that the end would justify any means. When they failed to trust and wait on God, they did not accomplish their goal, or their endeavors failed quickly. They also faced dire consequences. God has amazing grace, but He disciplines those whom He loves. We must be vigilant not to let our unfulfilled desires, discomfort, and impatience cause us to take action. We wait, trust, and go when and where God directs us. And we fine-tune our hearts to hear God by praying to Him and reading His word.

There are many modern examples of church leaders falling into the expediency trap. I highly recommend listening to the Rise and Fall of Mars Hill podcast for a modern-day example. What stood out the most to me was that people overlooked some serious concerns because of how quickly and big the church grew. The tension exists because you wonder if God can move and change lives amid the leaders’ sin and folly. The church of Mars Hill grew spectacularly, and it also fractured and disappeared almost overnight. God will not be mocked; we reap what we sow. Do it right. Don’t skip the journey, the waiting, or the dependence and trust in God. When we ignore or gloss over the flaws of leaders and programs in the name of success or protecting God’s mission, we are no longer building on a solid foundation. The house will fall, and disaster is inevitable.

God looks at the Heart

With such high stakes, maybe you think the safest path is to do nothing. After all, God will accomplish what He wants, with or without you. But that approach disregards the very heart of God. God chooses to work with us and desires us to join the expanding kingdom. Paul tells us that for those who follow Jesus, God has plans for us. We have Holy work to accomplish. We can’t be like the lazy servant who, afraid of doing something, went and buried his money in the backyard. No risk, no consequences. But also no growth and no reward. His money was taken and given to the servant who had grown.

David writes, search me and know my heart … point out anything that offends you and lead me to everlasting life. David was known to be a man after God’s own heart. The key to ensuring you are on the right path is to continually find time to spend with God asking those same questions.

1. God search me.

One of the hallmarks of modern society is how busy we have become. We barely have time to do the most essential things in life, like sleep and eat. How would we ever find time to pause and be still? And when we do have that time, we would instead fill it with noise from the television or a podcast or anything that allows us to not be alone with ourselves. Take time to force yourself to slow down and spend time searching your heart while asking God to join in the search. The more important you are in other people’s eyes (maybe even your own), the more you need to humble yourself before God and submit your heart to be searched.

2. God show me.

The Bible reminds us that our hearts are deceitful. You can’t lean on your understanding. So we need God through the Holy Spirit and the living Word to wade into our messiness and help us straighten up. Some of us need a Holy spring cleaning to eliminate all the junk and old, dusty treasures we hold on to so tightly. Do not be deceived; your heart will fight back. No one likes to be corrected. There will always be that small voice that seems to whisper, “Hey, I am not that bad; at least I am not like so and so. They are messed up.” When was the last time you cried out to God or begged God to show you what is offensive that has made a home in your heart? Did you take the time to listen and act on what you were offered?

3. God lead me.

It is hard to admit that you aren’t in control. You aren’t the captain of the ship. Destiny is not yours to grab by the horns and wrestle into triumph. When we allow God to search our hearts and reveal what needs to change, we must also choose to allow God to lead us. If you are leading others, but you aren’t willing to follow God, where are you leading them? The disciples had it right. They stayed when Jesus asked if they would abandon Him like the crowd had. They had found the person with the words of life; where else could they go? Submission and following God are easy to maintain when getting prestige and credit. What do you do when following God would reduce yourself but increase His name? John the Baptist knew he would need to exit the stage because Jesus was far greater. Be careful if you are a leader so that you don’t fall into the trap of thinking no one could be greater than you. You may never say those words out loud, but actions speak much louder than words.

Everybody Always

Walking through the wilderness and following God is for everyone. If you have breath in your lungs, then you have the chance to pause and ask God to search you, show you, and lead you. And it should be applied to every aspect of your life. Walking through the wilderness is learning who God wants you to be, which includes changing or getting rid of the parts that are not pleasing to God. Do it right. Take the time. Don’t take the easy or expedient path in hopes of avoiding the hard work of growth. Follow God and let him lead you in the ways of everlasting life.


Find more in the Tips for a Spiritual Journey on The Unbroken Ground Patheos page.
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