Several years ago Debbie and I had been taking care of 3 of our grandchildren: Rileigh Breeze was our 10 year old granddaughter who loves to talk, Hampton was our three year old grandson who MUST talk, and then there was Cooper, a year and a half old who talks with his hands. I am so grateful for all of our grandchildren because they teach us so much about life and even more about God. And I discovered something through little Cooper.
Cooper was learning how to talk. But at that time his talk was limited to a few words and a lot of gibberish. But one thing I noticed during that recent visit was the way he communicated when he wanted me to do something. Rather than calling me by name (which then was Paw) he extended his hands, palms upward, and then he proceeded to move his fingers, much like squishing an overripe tomato. If that didn’t get me moving, then he would come over to me and take hold of my finger and tug on me. Of course he wasn’t physically strong enough to move me, but my love for our grandchildren moved me. Then, still holding my finger, he led me to where he wanted me, and then pointed to what he was after. If I reached for the wrong thing, he shook his head NO and pointed again at what he wanted. This cycle of events continued until I got the right thing. When I succeed at his appointed task for me, Cooper then told me “Tanks!” He acknowledged the completion of the task with gratitude.
This scenario was repeated many times that weekend. And as I sit here at my desk, I had (not another random thought) an epiphany, an “AH HA!” moment struck me. So I took a moment to say to God, “Tanks for revealing your heart and mind to me, again, through the eyes of a little child.” I do not know why I was so amazed; after all, Jesus said the Kingdom belongs to little children. And here is today’s lesson I want to share with you, a lesson I “re-discovered” through Cooper.
As I read the Word, there are times when a single word leaps from the pages and captures my attention. Listen to Romans chapter 8 verse 14, “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.” The word that leaped from the passage is LED! To be led means that Someone has to do the leading. It also means that someone must follow that lead. It means that I cannot do both (be led and do the leading), so I must make a choice. Will I lead or will I be led?
As the people of God we get to be a part of the many wonderful things that God is doing. Being a part of God’s activity is both humbling and exciting. Isn’t it great to be used by God! But if we are not careful with that excitement we may jump ahead of God and move from being led to taking the lead. The nature of our relationship with God requires a hierarchy of leadership. There have been many moments in my life where God has used me to reach another person with His love. But then I get feeling pretty good about myself and I rush forward because I want to do so much more for Him who died for me. But in that rushing to do more, I have found myself at times switching places with the Holy Spirit. I have found myself taking the lead, grabbing the Holy Spirit by the finger and saying, “Come on, let’s get going! There’s so much more to do!”
And when I do that, the dynamic of our relationship has changed. When I jump out front, I not only leave the Holy Spirit behind me, but I also put His power behind me. Even though my intentions are good and honorable, I have abandoned the place of real power and strength. In those moments, I was trusting in my abilities, rather than relying on His grace. When I realize I have done this (usually after I fall flat on my face in failure), I have to stop and repent, and seek God’s forgiveness. And you know what? I have always found God’s grace truly is greater than all my sin. The Spirit picks me up, dusts me off, bandages my wounds, and says, “Next time, let Me lead.”
And remember to love God with all your heart. Love others the way Jesus loves you. And make sure all the glory goes to Him!