As a child we learn some of the greatest principles of life. This is probably why scripture tells us that we need faith like a child to enter the kingdom of heaven.

“Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”
Luke 18:17; Mark 10:15 (NKJV)

My daughter in many cases shows me the truth of this. However, she also sheds light on a problem that we carry into adulthood.

With a wife that is in the travel industry, we have gone on several vacations and have been blessed with visiting her family internationally on more than one occasion. I say this not to brag, actually I have become a bit spoiled about it, and have no longer been filled with joy when trips are planned. I digress. The point is that we travel. When we do, there are usually several bags involved, and not always enough hands to guide Leila through the airport as I would like. My solution has been very simple. We have created a protocol for airport travel. Maybe a slight misuse of the word, but it sounded good at the time. I actually was imagining that ridiculous Goldie Hawn film from the 80’s. Our plan of attack was: Lariza, my wife, with a suitcase on wheels in one hand, walks out front as our travel guru with passports and boarding passes at the ready in the other hand. Leila with her Dora carry-on rolls right in line behind Mama. Then I bring up the rear, supervising these maneuvers to ensure we all get where we have planned: our gate.

In route to the preplanned destination, something frustrating and insightful happens. Leila manages to get out in front of Mama. For many different reasons, such as wanting to show she knew the way, wanting to get there first or speed things up, etc, she just struggled with sticking to the plan. As the overseer, I would have to often give her a loud verbal cue, “Protocol!” Upon hearing this she would relocate her Mama and fall in line. Her youthful impatience, didn’t anticipate a stop to examine a map, or a restroom visit along the way, or maybe braking to pick up a snack. These detours were only visible to her when she was following the plan, in her place in line. Otherwise, she would hear the cue and have to backtrack to her position.

How many times do we follow Jesus like my Leila in the airport. We start off with the intention of being obedient and even enjoy following the leader. Then distractions arise, impatience sets in, pride or arrogance take over. Whatever the case may be, we often find ourselves many feet from the path and needing yet another cue, “Protocol!” Sometimes this cue is a small voice in our spirit, sometimes a wise correction from a friend, sometimes hitting brick walls by way of rough circumstances. These all can be used to bring back to mind that we are not in line with Jesus’ protocol.
We as believers know that His word gives us the clearest picture of our path, but there are smaller details of our choices on a daily basis that take the power of the Holy Spirit to wisely maneuver through life. This is the area that I have been guilty of failing miserably. I feel it is also a commonly neglected central concept of our faith:

God is in us too.
Good Thing Vs. God Thing
One area that I have been most guilty of neglecting to acknowledge the Holy Spirit, was in my service in the church. Right now you might be thinking that I needed to get more active and use the Spirit to energize my activity. Nothing could be more wrong for me. I had been active in every ministry that would have me. I like to call this sin “Out-working the Spirit.” I was attempting to do everything that I could for God, foolishly and subconsciously envisioning that if I didn’t do it, it would not get done. The funny thing is: if it is a God idea and a God sanctioned activity, it will get done with or without me.

I heard one way to cure yourself of feeling like you are more vital to God’s plan than you really are is to put your hand in a bucket and fill it up with water. Imagine your hand in this bucket is your activity for God. What impact would your inactivity have on God’s plan? Quickly take your hand out of the water. The space that your absence leaves is your answer. This is not to say that we are not important. God’s miracles happen through us on earth. The Bible is filled with people who became heroes, but only because they were subject to God’s power, not because they were so great. We are nothing without Him.

The key is to not work for the Spirit, but cooperate with Him. There are so many things that God has willed to get done. This why He made so many different people, with so many different gift sets. You can do all things, but are not gifted to do all the best, and are not called to do everything. Why is it that we as Christians get wrapped up into that “do all” spirit? I believe it is simply because we have been trained with the can do attitude. This is a great c
ure to laziness, but God works most consistently through the dependent on Him attitude, the broken and pleading attitude. Our workaholic tendencies say, “If something needs to get done, I’m going to step up and do it.” However, if we are always just stepping up, are we leaving opportunity for someone better equipped and gifted to step into their calling?

Sent to Do = Meant to Do

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
~Isaiah 26:9 NIV

Wherever you go, be sure that the Lord has sent you there. If he didn’t then you are wasting your time, because He will only send you to places that will aid you in completing his vision for your life. Seek his guidance in all you do. You may be doing great things, and still missing the mark for the “God thing” that you were created to do. Dr. Martin Luther King would have been highly praised, had he dedicated his days to building an orphanage and caring for orphaned youth. That would have been a great thing. But that would not have been the “God thing” that was set aside for his future. He was meant to impact greatly global and national racial equality and civil rights.

Look at what you are doing on a daily basis, in your church, at work, in the community.

Is he sending you out into that field, or are you just going?

Many of us get like Martha and just get to workin and workin, but never stop to examine what things we are working at. We just know they need to get done. This is why were are called the body of  Christ, let the hands heal and the feet walk. You could travel on your hands, but that would be so much harder.  Do what you were sent to do. That is what you were meant to do.

The only way to appropriately serve the King is to listen to Him. Stop trying to serve Him filet mignon, when all he is asking you for is chicken breast. He is constantly trying to direct and redirect us, but we too often have our end planned and forget to check with the pilot, the navigator for route updates. The urges that He plants within us through the Holy Spirit keep us from wasting time and energy on our way to the gate. We must simply listen to His urges, test that they are from Him by aligning them to His word, and praying through them for revelation.  Listen for those whispers from God. He wants to lead you to the gate. He has stops planned along the way, so plan on patiently following.