A Moral Compass
Here we are at day 7, one-third through our 21 day journey. Today is Sunday and I am preparing myself for today’s message “Who is the Holy Spirit?” I am asking God to make his Spirit known in our midst through my humble attempts at creative communication. I can feel a bit of excitement building in me as I believe this focused time on the Holy Spirit is going to bring us into a new (renewed) relationship with the triune God. Yippie. (That is about all the excitement that I can generate at 8:45 in the morning.)
Today we hear Jesus teaching his disciples (his followers) about the Holy Spirit, Jesus says: But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come (John 16:13).
“He will guide you” reinforces the whole “journey” metaphor when describing the Christian life. Our life in the kingdom of God has experiences, but it is a journey. Let me say that again with a little bit more emphasis: Our life in the kingdom of God HAS experiences, but it IS a journey. It is easy to chart our growth as Christian from the big experiences…. “I got “saved” on this date. I got filled with the Spirit on this day. God called me to be a Sunday school teacher on this date….and this is just about it.” This watershed moments or good and important, but they make up about .05% of your entire Christian life. 99.5% of your Christian life is spent in ordinary moments—these are the moments that we need the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
We need a guide when we do not know where to go. On my first trip to India in 2001, I was flying through Amsterdam and I had an overnight stay there. I contact the YWAM base in Amsterdam (YWAM De Poort) before I went and asked if they had a place where I can stay. They had a guest room…a free guest room available, so I booked a room for the night. No reward points, but free is a reward all to itself. I was traveling alone and was up for an adventure, because the people at the YWAM base said that they would be unable to send anyone to pick me up. They said it was pretty easy to get from the Schipol Airport to the YWAM base. They told me that all I had to do was to catch a train from the airport to the Centraal Train Station, from there get on the number 14 bus and get off at some street that I could not pronounce. Easy, right?!? By a miracle, I did get to the YWAM base. I was led up to my room, but the place was fairly empty. So I decided to walk around outside. The YWAM base was on the harbor in the downtown/touristy area of Amsterdam. As I was heading out the door, one of the YWAM staffers asked me if I wanted a map. I said no and kept walk. This is where I made my mistake. I started down the street along the harbor and I told myself that as long as I stay by the water, I should be good to go. (Yeah, right.) I walking along the harbor for about 45 minutes looking for a place to eat. I wanted to eat on the harbor to keep my sure fire plan in working order. I thought that I might find a local pub and try out some Dutch food when out of the corner of my eye I caught the most beautiful sight that I have ever seen. Up one of the streets, I saw a red sign shining bright that beacon of American values—I saw, in all of its shining glory, the yellow glow of the golden arches. After eating rice and curry for three weeks, I was dying for a Quarterpounder with cheese and a large Fry. I darted up the street, departing from my plan, and went into the McDonald’s.
I licked the salty goodness off my fingers.
I was happy.
I left the McDonalds and saw a flow of people going into town. I could have chosen to go back towards the harbor, but I let curiosity get the best of me and I went into town. After walking around for about an hour, I decided to head back to the YWAM base. “The harbor should be just the next street over,” I thought. Wrong! I wondered around for about 30 minutes, when I realized that I was lost. I had no map and more importantly, I had no guide. I debated about walking about 4 km to the bus station, because there were signs to the bus station. I knew I could get back to the YWAM base from there. In the end, I decided to grab a taxi. The taxi driver spoke enough English that he understood where I wanted to go. He said, “oh no problem.” I hopped in the the taxi. He made a left and then a right and there we were in front of the YWAM base. The whole ride took about 45 seconds. I was embarrassed. I was blocks away from the base the whole time. The moral of the story is if you are going to travel through a place that is unfamiliar to you, GET A GUIDE.
This is what the Holy Spirit does. He leads us through this journey of life. He is our constant companion, ready to guide us through the uncertainties of life. All we have to do is open ourselves up to his guidance.
Here is my prayer today: Holy Spirit, I need your help! I feel blind and disoriented half the time. Would you come grab my hand and lead me through the seemingly insignificant moments of life? Lead me to the place where God my Father wants me to be. In Jesus’ name. Amen.