Prior to the Renaissance it was thought the world was flat. There was real concern that over-adventurous sailors might sail right off the edge. Hand-crafted maps of the day showed safe coastline routes. Beyond a certain point, the mapmakers painted sea dragons or terrible goblin-like creatures that awaited those that ventured too far. This cautionary tale, complete with fancy artwork, was intended to remind those bold, apostolic captains to stay in the accepted routes, the safe waters close to shore. Motives of those mapmakers may have been pure and heartfelt but they were eventually proved totally inaccurate and based on nothing but repeated traditions and fear of the vast unknown.
Those pioneering souls who knew better or suspected the curvature of the globe and disagreed with the flat-earth folks paid a price. They were mocked, jailed, sometimes ex-communicated or severely chastised. Today we may laugh at such backward nautical ideas, but we are still afraid of change.- Still afraid to go off the map! Many lack the faith to embrace the full map. Or they lack boldness to compare it to the original map. Aren’t many still reluctant to stray from the shallow comfort of church doctrine or traditions to venture into the deep water where God truly intends for us to be? All through scripture we are called, lovingly, to be trusting fully in Him, soaking in His Word, empowered and led by the Holy Spirit and following obediently to His voice. (2 Tim. 3:5) Didn’t Jesus tell us that the Holy Spirit would lead us in ALL Truth? (John 16:13)
Mobs of people followed Jesus all around the countryside. They followed him – not because they totally understood everything that he was teaching- but because they had seen and heard that he could DO AMAZING, UNHEARD OF STUFF. Based on what they had seen and heard him do they now had a real, viable expectation that he could and would do the same thing for them. He healed them all and he cast out their demons and he raised folks from the dead. He promised that his followers- faithful believers that followed his example, would do the same and even greater things than he! (John 14:12) Why do Christians stand around, chewing their cud, and blindly accept that things like this are not viable for today?
It is a conscious decision we each must make to continue on the same tired cow-path or resolve to follow the Holy Spirit to higher roads that actually lead somewhere new and fine. Some of us approach such a jumping off point with trepidation. Change is scary, especially when we see that all the other cud-chewing cows have continued blissfully in their deeply entrenched cow-path. If you fear a lack of control or fear following the Lord where he wants you to go then is He truly Lord of your life? Is He? Are you a-feared of the unknown at the edge of your map?
I know I am mixing my metaphors, however, allowing ourselves, by a careful study of God’s word, to be led from the safe, non-confrontational, “no-power- evident-nor-expected” path to a different route: His Path; He will inevitably reward that step of faith. He will lead you through those uncharted waters to new and powerful places. Or, lead you to a precipice where we are not only blessed with rarified air but to a marvelous vision that those others will never see. You may be compelled to take a running leap of faith and hang-glide in the power of the Holy Spirit in amazing new directions! (2 Cor. 5:7, 1 John 5:14, Eph. 3:16-17, Psalm 119:30)
Whether serving Him here in my own neighborhood, at my desk writing, or called to overseas missions it is the exact same course to be plotted! That faithless “map” was drawn in permanent ink by folks who have no vision or understanding of the gifts and promises of the Holy Spirit or why they are necessary for us today, right now! Fear is the flip side of faith. They cannot co- exist in the same vessel.
You see, the world and the apostate church fear the dragons at the edges of the “comfort” map, the traditional map. As obedient Believers, we must realize that the Dragon is already all over our map and operating in our midst! He is seeking to devour and destroy anyone at any time. He wants you to fear that deep water-the deep things of the Lord. ( Acts 1:8, Romans 8:11, Luke 24:49) He wants to keep you from entering into the powerful things of the Lord. ( John 10:10, 1 Peter 5:8)
You and I are called to be different. (1 Peter 2:9, Phil 2:15, Romans 12:2, Proverbs 1:15) We are called, in scripture-based faith, to set our rudder and hoist that sail fearlessly. This Dragon is already completely defeated. He flees before the King’s Ship of State.( James 4:7) I have signed aboard this crew and am called to cast off on this incredible, exploratory expedition. It matters not where I want to go or where I think we should go. It only matters that my sails are unfurled and full of the wind- with the steady Ruach– of the Holy Spirit at my back and in my sails. (Acts 2, 1 John 2:19-17, Acts 19:2)