And that is our problem. We know what to do; in life, in ministry, and in business. And if you don’t know what to do, someone will happily tell you (sadly most often from the same source as your “knowing” comes from). There is no blank slate to start from…
My mind goes to examples from scripture that highlight such “knowing” and reveal it’s source.
Tree of Knowledge (Gen 2 & 3 click link to read context)
From every tree in the garden, you may freely eat, except one…. (Curiously, this was said to Adam prior to the woman being formed)
Interestingly, both the tree of life and the tree of knowledge were in the center of the Garden, but, they seem to be preoccupied with the knowledge tree and refer to it as the one in the center of the Garden that was forbidden. Both life and knowledge trees were in the center of the Garden.
Why are we always drawn to that one?
The way to the tree of life had to be closed so that the man and the woman wouldn’t eat of it’s fruit and live forever in a fallen state.
Tower of Babel (Gen. 11:1-9)
Let’s build a city and a name (reputation) for ourselves
Let’s reach heaven by our own means
Let’s maintain our unity
The scattering that the people were trying to avoid actually happened as a result of the course of action that they took in an attempt to prevent it. Hey, let’s make sure to not be scattered, and why don’t we do the very thing that will result in that?
Transfiguration of Christ (Matt. 17:1-8)
This is one of the more spectacular events of told in the entirety of the gospels, and only three of the twelve were invited to see it. And, boom, “Hey, I know!” makes it’s appearance. This time, God the Father get’s involved and rebukes Peter from a cloud, and it’s interesting what Peter is told.. short version, This is my Son, listen to Him. And let’s don’t miss the punch line here! What was said to Peter from the cloud is also our instruction, and defense, for following what we already know.
Tree of Life
Many of us contemplate and perhaps look forward to the way being opened again to the tree of life, but that way has already been opened.
The veil (of Jesus’ flesh) was torn, as was the veil in the temple
I send you another comforter, who will be with you always, he will remind you of everything I have said
Those who are led of the Spirit will not fulfill the works of the flesh.
How do we avoid the programmed response of following what we know? We seek the guidance of the Lord.
Things You Don’t Know
““This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it—the Lord is his name: ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’”
Jeremiah 33:2-3 NIV (Emphasis mine)
So much of what we have in all areas of life is the product of the fruit of knowledge. Remember what that fruit results in? Death. And in Babylon, Confusion. And at the Transfiguration, Rebuke. And let’s not begin to deceive ourselves that this is more or less true if we starting a church, a ministry, doing a mission than it is for anything else in life. All of our work (including “churchy” stuff) will be evaluated by the same means.
We must begin again to seek (and receive) the Lord’s guidance leadership, personally. We must trust, depend on, and follow Him, if our lives will prove to be a collaboration with Him in the final assessment.
Quickly my mind goes to Paul’s admonition:
Fire will test the quality of each person’s work
“Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings? What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.”
1 Corinthians 3:1-15 NIV (Emphasis mine)
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism.”
Colossians 3:23-25 NIV (Emphasis mine)