Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
– 1 Timothy 4:15-16
“But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you’ve taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.”
– C. S. Lewis, The Case for Christianity (transcript of the Radio Broadcast, later edited to be the first part of Mere Christianity)
Have you met someone who always goes forward? I seem to remember a Dr. Seuss story, The Zax. The Zax (plural) were stubborn creatures who would not bend or step aside for anyone. The story goes that a north going zax (singular) bumped into a south going zax (singular). Neither would step aside because stepping aside means that they were no longer ‘north going’ or ‘south going.’ With Dr. Seuss writing it, you can imagine how the story turns out.
But that is just stepping aside. Repentance involves a turning around. What about turning around and taking that other fork in the road as Lewis suggests? Or look at the Scripture and stop at the fork and call upon the Lord to determine what direction to turn. In both cases, Lewis toward the people of England during World War II or Paul toward Timothy and from generation to generation as church leaders arise, we need to preserve the doctrine and our life. They both go hand-in-hand. For what is life if there is no Truth?
Our churches and our governments have lost sight of that. Whether people are like the north going zax or south going zax, there is no stepping aside, but they have not determined that the direction that they are going is the right direction in the first place.
There are 360 degrees in the compass. We have a lot of choices of what direction to go, but are any of them the correct direction? Jesus resides at the right hand of the Father in what we call Heaven. Wherever Heaven is, it is definitely outside time and space, so any of those degrees on the compass are taking you in the wrong direction. All of those are inside space.
Look up? That might be appropriate in that Jesus ascended to the Father, but was that only for convenience? He will return on the clouds, but is that where Jesus is now? God is everywhere. Ah. Maybe it is not a physical direction at all.
Let’s forget the Zax analogy on the physical scale. Let us search our hearts.
Are we following the doctrine set forth in the Scriptures? Are we listening to the Holy Spirit who will say things to us that are backed up by the Scriptures? Are we going as the Spirit leads us, not as our stubborn zax-notion drives us?
I cannot tell you your path, but the Holy Spirit can and will. He may not be able to tell you everything yet. What the Holy Spirit wants you to do might not even be invented yet.
I am thinking that this is part 1 of a three part message, but the Holy Spirit may want me to turn around and take another path. Stay tuned. You may be frustrated now, but look at it from my perspective. I have only a vague idea where this might be going myself. Tomorrow, I am thinking of a look back at my path, especially when it comes to not being invented yet.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.