God’s kingdom is full of paradoxes. The last shall be first, the leader must be the servant, to be rich we must give away everything we have. Want to approach the Almighty? Approach as simple as a child. Are you starting to see the theme here? God’s way is not the world’s way. In most circumstances, God’s way is the opposite of the world’s.
In Magnificat magazine, author Peter John Cameron cites 17th century St. Claude as saying, “a rule God usually follows is to attain His ends by ways that are the opposite to those human prudence would choose.” Going on, St. Claude imagines God saying to us, “If I paid heed to what you think you need you would have been hopelessly ruined long ago.” Ouch.
How true, though. How many times have I followed my own lead, or my “gut,” only to end up deeper in the briar patch? Our human instinct leads us naturally toward earthly solutions, while God’s direction leads us somewhere greater. As creatures, our instincts are for survival and self-gratification, while as children of God we are called to love. It sets up a constant internal conflict.
Following God is not a choice that you can make once and never think about again. Following His direction instead of our own instincts means making an endless series of “right-versus-left” decisions, all through our day. Often we will get it wrong, or simply forget that it is a decision, as we “go with the flow” of the world. But when we do remember to place God first and to be led by His will instead of our own, good things usually follow. God promises repeatedly that, if you ask, you will receive His help. The Bible is very consistent, whether the lesson involves a lost sheep, Peter the failing water-walker, a blind man, or a leper. Ask for help in following God, and you will be given that help.
Give it a try today. As you’re walking along today’s path of life, ask yourself (or better yet, ask Jesus who just happens to be walking right next to you), “am I moving toward heaven or away from it?” The answer is usually pretty obvious. And so’s the solution. About face, forward march!