Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

 James 1:2-4 

 

It may be that one of the greatest inventions of the modern era is Google maps. It is extremely helpful in a unknown city to be able to simple ask Siri for directions and listen to that gentle voice say “in 500 meters turn left.” If for some reason you miss a turn or decide to pull in to McDonald’s along the way, there is no reproof in her voice simply a polite course correction saying “proceed to the route” or “recalculating”. She even tells me if there is road construction or a red light camera coming up!

 

Wouldn’t it be marvelous if God did the same when outlining the plan for our life? Wouldn’t it be nice if he gave us warning that “sickness is on the way, financial challenges are ahead 600 meters and children will disappoint you in 1.3 km’s?” If we somehow got outside of the plan God has mapped out he would simply recalculate and get us back on track?

 

Here is what I have learned about listening to Siri for directions; I don’t really bother to learn the route. If I have to go back to the same place I have to once again ask Siri how to get there. I might recognize some landmarks but I get used to simply following directions and as a result never have to learn or think for myself.

 

I think the same is true in our Christian walk. If God were simply to tell us what to do and nudge us back on course every time we strayed off script would we really be learning lessons? Would we have the privilege of making mistakes that help us to learn, grow and mature? Would we learn the value of perseverance which then in turn develops into maturity and spiritual completeness? Would we in fact grow closer to God if we didn’t have to struggle and sweat to discover his will and learn the lessons from the challenges in life?

 

When we are struggling, it is easy to think, “why doesn’t God just tell me what to do?” But he does tell us, like my second grade teacher instructing me on how to read, he says “sound it out, put in the work, learn the lessons so the next time around, you will know.”

 

Spiritual maturity does not come from walking the easy road or having someone tell us what to do, it comes from working through life, leaning on God, learning his word and putting it into practice…..so that we may be “mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

 

Blessings

 

Mike Hoeft
Major
Area Commander
Prairie Division