This brings me now to the matter of making adjustments.
As I said in my introduction, we are all on a journey, starting at different times and at different places perhaps, but hopefully going in the same direction. Getting there is the issue.
If you have watched an airplane taking off or landing in strong winds, it can look as if it is flying sideways. It isn’t really.
The winds are trying to take if off course by exerting pressure on the tail and rudder and other parts of course, but the vertical stabilizer or rudder is basically what the pilot controls to steer the aircraft where he wants it to go and get everyone safely to their destination.
A boat at sea can leave port and start its journey, but encounter adverse winds and waves that also exert forces on the boat to take it off course. The destination can be due North or zero degrees, but because of reefs and sandbars or submerged objects, the skipper might have to steer the boat in a totally different direction to avoid them. At some point in planes and on ships, constant course corrections are necessary.
Anyone who has flown much may have seen parts of the wings moving up and down as the computer makes constant adjustments.
In like manner, Christians must be aware that course corrections are necessary, if they really want to take possession of their “Promised Land”. Unless this is done, many will be shipwrecked. I’m sorry, but this is true. When the Lord was taking to me about this, He said that He too had to make such adjustments. As an example, He told the disciples that thery were going to get into a boat and cross over to the other side of the sea to Gadara. It was calm when they embarked, but at some time in their jouney, a fierce storm arose. It was a spiritual force that tried to take Him and the disciples out. The account is found in Mark 4:35-41.
If you read it, you will see that He said that they were going to pass over unto the other side. That phrase means “Pierce”. He was going to pierce enemy territory! Please remember that we are called to take possession and occupy and this can only be done “in enemy territory”. Thankfully, the battle is already won, but we must still be about His business, so do not be surprized if some reaction and opposition comes.
Therefore, if we are not flexible and able to make constant course corrections on our journey, how will we ever make it to our destination?
I am not talking about getting to heaven. Unless we do something absolutely foolish and rebel against God, we will get there, but between the jetty on the wharf and the jetty at the other end, we have things to do. It is more than attending church for services as usual, because we all have a “new norm”. A government update on the coronavirus on TV, also uses the term “new norm”.
Jesus told Paul that he had to go to Rome and Paul was committed to it, but as you may well know, he got shipwrecked on the way—and it was not his fault! He tried telling the authorities not to go out to sea, but they did not listen to him. The Holy Ghost is telling us that changes are here, but not all Christian leaders are listening! A seasonal change was coming and it was so well known that the people gave it a name—Euroclydon. God’s (genuine) prophets are talking about a seasonal change, a “new norm” perhaps.
It is possible that what we started off doing and most likely doing well no longer applies. We could say that the wind may have changed direction; a storm may have come up or the enemy may be working overtime to hinder us, but whatever term we use, a seasonal change is indeed upon us and we must remember that there are times and seasons, both in the natural and in the spiritual.
It is possible to be on the right highway, but heading in the wrong direction (north instead of south).
It is easy to say that we are heading basically in the right direction, say North, by using a compass, but the earth’s magnetic poles are moving and compasses are regularly checked to compensate. Even though you can be heading due North by compass, you may still never reach the right destination.
Suppose you want to leave point A to go to point B, heading due North by compass heading, you should could reach your destination.
You may be heading North—but running parallel to the proper course.
If so, you will never get to point B.
Convert this to Christian service, we may be heading in what we think is the right direction, but never get where God would really like us to be. We are indeed sailing on the ocean. We could even see things happening around us, but still not quite hitting the target precisely in the middle. This is why we need to constantly reappraise what we are doing and checking our position.
Near enough is not good enough. Using my example of compass headings again, if we are supposed to be going at 0 degrees, or due North but actually traveling at 1 degree either side, in the short term it might not matter much, but over a long term, we could be hundreds or thousands of miles off course. Do the maths.
This is why I keep checking myself with the Lord, asking Him where I stand. I am not being unstable at all. I know His voice and follow it, but regularly check the “compass headings” in my life and ministry, because I can still exercise my own free will and make decisions. What I am also doing is relating to Him and telling Him that I trust Him and am not doing my own thing. I quit trying to do something for God and asking him to bless it later, as seen only too often.
I now ask Him, “What would You like me to do?” “What are We going to do today?” “Where would You like me to go?”
Sometimes, He tells me, “Nothing”, so if I went ahead and tried to “win someone to the Lord” which we all want to do I suppose, I would be disobedient. If I went ahead and started a new church without His authorization, I would also be rebellious. Paul wanted to go to Asia, but the Holy Spirit forbade him. The cause was there. The need was there. The people were there—but the Lord was not in it—then!
In this change of seasons, this is what the church must learn. Such a message is not popular, but is of vital importance. If and when we come out of this present situation, our whole world will be different, so what we once did with varying degrees of “success” may never work again.