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Stop Seeking Clarity...and Simply Trust

I’m amazed at how some people seem to have it all together. They have their life mapped out, kids in tow, calendar organized, schedule laid out to the minute, and they just seem to know where they’re headed and how they’re going to get there.

If that’s you, fantastic. For the rest of us, however, we often lay out our plans and chart our course only to find roadblocks, detours, and setbacks. Life can be confusing and frustrating, especially when we pray for clarity but are shrouded in a cloud of chaos.

At the start of every new year, I pray for clarity. I pray for wisdom. I pray for God’s direction and guidance. I’ll say things like, “Lord, in this new year, will you help me see what you want me to see, so I will do what you want me to do?” If I’m honest, I like seeing more than believing. I like to know where I’m going, and I like to have a plan on how to get there.

According to Jesus, seeing is overrated. He blessed those who have not seen and yet have believed (John 20:29), which, by the way, includes us. He instructed His disciples to follow Him, but He didn’t always tell them where they were going. This reminds me of Abram’s obedience to follow God, even though he didn’t know his final destination (Hebrews 11:8). At one point in the history of the Israelites, they were powerless against their enemy and simply said, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you” (2 Chronicles 20:12).

The meaning of faith is to obey and follow, not because we know what to do or where to go, but because our eyes are on Jesus.

John F. Kavanaugh was seeking clarity for his future as he spent a month serving in Calcutta at the “house of the dying.” He tells the story of his first meeting with Mother Teresa where she asked him how she could pray for him. He replied, “Pray that I have clarity.” She simply said, “No.” When he asked her why she announced that clarity was the last thing he was clinging to and had to let go of. He commented that she always seemed to have the clarity he longed for, and she laughed: “I have never had clarity; what I’ve always had is trust. So I will pray that you trust” (The Word Engaged, 91).

In this new year of 2020, your way can and will be foggy at times. You won’t have all the answers you seek. You won’t always know what to do or where to go. Jesus doesn’t expect you to. What He does expect is that your eyes remain on Him.

Leonard Sweet points out that church culture has fashioned an addiction to safety and security. “If we cannot plot a future path with visible surety, then we cannot imagine God would call us or lead us down it. But the way of the cross is one of trust, and it is trust that leads us to obedience in following the Master wherever He leads. The path may be uncertain. But for the trust-casting pilgrim, the One we follow will never steer us wrong” (I Am a Follower, 125).

My prayer for you in 2020 is that even though you might not have clarity, you will always have trust. May your eyes always remain on Jesus.

Posted by Rick Grover, Lead Pastor with

A Resolution Worth Considering

Welcome to 2020! Most of us, on only the second day of a new year, can relate to the popular Michael Bublé song lyrics,  “It's a new dawn, It's a new day, It's a new life for me, And I'm feeling good.” But how can we make the hope and resolve we feel at the start of a new year last beyond today, or tomorrow, or next week?

How many of you have already made, and broken a new year’s resolution? Maya Angelou once wrote, “When we know better, we do better.” I would only add…hopefully, but not always. The Apostle Paul seemed to have a bit of this problem as well: “For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing” (Romans 7:18b-19). Did Paul know better? Yes, indeed. He was a pretty smart, redeemed and faithful fellow. But he still struggled with his sinful nature, as do we all.

Now, I generally agree with Angelou’s declaration. We tend to do better when we know better. When we understand the issues behind our family’s (and our own) dysfunction, we can then do something about it. Knowledge is the first step in self-awareness, which can lead to behavior change and attitude adjustments. Hosea 4:6 tells us, “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.” So, knowing better can lead to doing better.

However, good information doesn’t always lead to sustained transformation. We need something else. We need something that empowers information, something that transfers information into action leading to transformation. Information is like the engine, but without any fuel, the engine can’t go.

Our culture is certainly not lacking information; we lack the fuel to make the engine go. Most people want to do the right thing, at least most of the time. They want to be good husbands or wives, good parents, good employees, good people. The problem is not in the want to or with the knowledge of what is right or wrong. The problem is the how-to. How do we overcome our struggle with sin? How do we do the right thing? How do we change our lives? It requires something different altogether. The Apostle Paul rightly acknowledged, “I don’t have the ability to carry it out” (Romans 7:18).

The first two steps of Alcoholics Anonymous are to admit you are powerless, and you need a Power greater than yourself to bring restoration. Romans 7 and 8 affirm both steps. We are powerless (Romans 7), and there is a Power able to bring restoration and healing (Romans 8). In Romans 8, Paul identifies this Power as the Holy Spirit who is the source of our strength and the ability to help us in our inability.

The SPIRIT has set you free (Romans 8:1). We are to walk according to the SPIRIT (v. 4). We set our minds on the SPIRIT (v. 5). We are to be in the SPIRIT (v. 9). We have life through Christ’s SPIRIT who dwells in us (v. 11). By the SPIRIT we put to death the deeds of the body (v. 13). We are to be led by the SPIRIT (v. 14). The SPIRIT bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God (v. 16). The SPIRIT helps us in our weakness (v. 26). The SPIRIT intercedes for us (v. 26).

The Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, is not just the fuel that makes the engine go, He is the Person with whom we connect who helps us fight the good fight and overcome our weakness, sin and dysfunction. Now that’s the kind of information we need to activate and sustain our resolve to be and do better.

Posted by Rick Grover, Lead Pastor with

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