Prone to Wander
I love the line from the old hymn, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love, here’s my heart Lord, take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.” I felt what it meant to wander one night in the woods. King David confesses using this same sort of language in Psalm 119:176 ” I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments.” (ESV)
We are prone to wander. Even in our redeemed condition, we are prone to struggle to remember God’s greatness and our need for him. Sometimes, we need a light in the dark.
A Light in the Dark
Early one archery season, I was hunting on property that my friend had gained permission for us on. My friend warned me that the area I would be hunting could be disorienting. I was arrogant. I thought, “I’ve hunted timber like this so many times before. There’s no way I’m going to get lost.” As I twisted and turned down ridges and across “hollers” as we call them in southern Missouri, I didn’t think about anything other than finding a good whitetail travel route to set my stand up on.
As darkness fell, I I lowered my bow from the stand and began to plot my way back to the truck. The twists and turns during the daylight became much less easy to remember in the dark. 45 minutes after dark, I could no longer hear the nearby highway. I stood on a dark ridge top alone. I looked at my watch at 10:00PM and began to wrestle with the thought of spending an ill-prepared night in the woods.
Not long after I settled on a spot to set up camp, I heard a faint yell. I yelled back. A few minutes later, I saw a flashlight. By getting to the top of the ridge, I had positioned myself in a way that I could orient myself if there was some sort of light or sound to reference.
“I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. 2 Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever.3 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.” Psalm 145:1-3
The Right Direction
The solution to my “lostness” that night was the orienting work of my friend to shine his light in the right direction. Christians need to understand that the glory of God’s very nature is like that orienting light. In Psalm 145, King David illustrates the orienting value of proclaiming the greatness of God to both himself and the world around him.
The enemy wants to convince the Christian that he or she is something outside the framework of what Christ has accomplished for them. When I believe that, I find myself forgetting who I am and what he has done for me. What is most harmful is that I forget who God is and his promises.
When I proclaim the greatness of God to God, to myself, and to those around me, I am reminded that I have been rescued by grace. I’m also reminded that the grace-giver, is infinitely more powerful than my guilt and shame.
“Although my memory’s fading, I remember two things very clearly: I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior.” – John Newton
The First Steps
If you feel disoriented with living as a follower of Jesus, here are three things to do to break the ice.
- Start Worshipping God Personally. In spite of all of King David’s maleficence, he worshipped God. He was accustomed to proclaiming how great God is to God. We should improve at this in prayer, in song, even in the way we read our Bibles.
- Make worship evident to those around you. This doesn’t mean pridefully using your Christianity as a social justice bludgeon to “keep the demons at bay”. It means something special to your wife to see you reading your Bible. Praying with your husband is powerful. Even if your co-workers aren’t believers, sometimes it’s remarkable how willing they are to let you ray for them. It means something to them that you remind them of God’s goodness when they are suffering.
- Proclaim the mighty works of God to other generations. Proclaiming the mighty works of God to Christians is a rally-cry. It’s a trumpet blaring amidst the smoke of battle to signal a charge, not a retreat. Christians of all ages need to hear this loud and clear. Likewise, the mighty works of God are what the world needs to hear. We should never grow weary of proclaiming that God is the provider of our needs. He is a miracle worker. He is mighty and above all other authorities.
Sometimes it’s very difficult to break through in that first moment of worship. If proclaiming the goodness of God is hard for you, begin a prayer by recalling and reciting all of the good things you know about God. Sometimes the person who needs to be reminded of God’s greatness the most is us.