BY KANEIA CRUMLIN
This is the eleventh in a series of posts.
…there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!
—Luke 15:7, NLT
I stray, daily. Although this passage speaks of “…one lost sinner,” I know it’s talking about me. While I’m not lost, I wander in Christ.
To say I wander daily would be underreporting: it wouldn’t be taking into account what my body does along with what my heart, mind and desires do on a moment-by-moment basis. My daily and big picture goals are often goals of a wanderer.
Have you ever had goals/appetites/desires that weren’t rooted in or putting Christ (and His will for your life) at the center?
Perhaps the area of my life in which I wander most frequently is in my obedience.
At a glance, I could argue I’m a pretty obedient child of God. I’ve checked off all the big (and some small) boxes of obedient:
- I go to church weekly
- I have my (daily-ish) personal devotional time with God during which I worship, read & meditate on His word and pray.
- I don’t outwardly sin (e.g. lie, kill, fornicate, etc)
- I don’t even drink as I try to be “…sober and vigilant” (1 Peter 5:8-9).
- In general, I’m intentional about making sure my walk matches my talk (1 Cor 9:24-25)
My wandering is evident when it comes to what I want to do with my time, especially when I feel the nudge of the Holy Spirit, pressing upon me to go in a different direction — like stop doing this task which is good but not my will and instead pick up this other task which will cause you to rely more on me. Yep, I willfully ignore these nudges from the Holy Spirit.
Take this blog post, for example. Instead of taking weeks to write it, it could’ve taken me just under an hour (which is the actual time it took for me to write what you’re reading, once I sat down to do it).
Where is God directing you to go (and do) that you’re taking (wasting) your sweet time to get there?
There’s nothing wrong with having items on your To-Do list that didn’t come from the throne room of heaven, directly. But when the Holy Spirit gives you a directive, how long does it take before you follow it?
Dr. Tony Evans famously said, “Delayed obedience is disobedience”.
I understand Dr. Evans’s statement now–being a parent of two toddlers—more than ever. When I direct my child to come here or I tell him/her to move out of harm’s way, I’m not asking nor is it permission to wander their way into obedience or ignore me completely.
Whenever I stop my children’s revelry and direct their attention elsewhere, it’s not only ill-received but it’s clear they don’t view my interruption as important as what they are currently doing. That said, they’ll either respond with a full-body meltdown or by slow-walking their way to me, engaging in and making contact with anything they can along the way to obeying me.
While composing this post, the Holy Spirit is showing me, among other things, how I overlook or minimize the fact that my quiet disobedience is disobedience. I’ve assured myself that there’s a hierarchy in God’s eyes of disobedience infractions—much like in grade school when not doing your homework rendered a softer consequence than fighting.
In my mind, my quiet wandering–aka taking the scenic route to obedience–is not as egregious as breaking the law, cheating or using the Lord’s name in vain.
Sure, these sins aren’t the same actions but maybe, just maybe, ignoring the Holy Spirit on any front is an affront to the one who pursues me. Perhaps it’s the equivalent of a husband making an advance at his wife to woo her and she responds by walking away, barely looking in his direction, but fully aware of her husband’s intention to draw closer.
When the Holy Spirit nudges me in His direction, my response shouldn’t be a total body meltdown or the slowest walk to obedience. My response to the Holy Spirit should be an express route to yes.
This is how we, wanderers, come back to the one who never leaves nor forsakes us: we return with a broken spirit and a contrite heart, ready to go and do “the good things He has for us…”(Eph 2:10).
KANEIA CRUMLIN lives in Washington, DC with her hubs, Chandler, and their two toddler cubs, Britton and Elle. She leads one of two DC MOPS groups, coaches small group leaders at her local church and enjoys encouraging mamas, marrieds and singles! At her core, Kaneia is a worshiper (the joyful noise kind 😉 and an intercessor who believes that Abba desires to do an Eph 3:20 thing in all of us, all the time. Besides the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit and her delicious husband, the daily adventure of being at home, full-time, with Elle & Britton lights her world. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.