Psalms 32 :8
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
This week during one of our morning prayers we simply reflected on Psalms 32 and in particular verse 8. We had a group of college students & a few of the students made very similar comments. All of them were something like, “there are moments when I feel so stuck in my faith, because I’m having such a hard time determining God’s will for my life.” They all felt as if so much of their life was found waiting on God to speak that they never actually moved. We start our apprentice program with the very simple idea that the foundation of discipleship is learning to hear God’s voice & respond.
The culture that many of the students come from is a culture where there are pastors, small group leaders, parents, mentors who are the “answer guys.” So each time they struggle with what’s next, what job to take, what to major in, what classes to take, or what to eat for breakfast on a Thursday. They grab their answer guy & listen & then they go. Some can’t find a local “answer guy” so they find a celebrity pastor, an author or someone they can podcast. What we create here is a culture of co-dependency!
The spiritual leader loves to be the “answer guy” but the young person never learns to actually seek & pursue God, they simply live out someone else’s faith. So, we have a generation that often times seeks wise counsel without ever seeking God!
Breaking this co-dependency is not easy but it’s where we start with our students!
So back to our morning prayers, I told the story of how I can simply give my daughter a look & she cries. This may sound terrible but I am kind of proud of it. I can simply mean mug her for a minute & she will automatically start crying, and telling me she is sorry. This doesn’t work with my older boys, my wife or the other pastors on staff at the ave. Although I think I’m close with Jeromie Jones & a few of our elders! The idea is that with a simple glance my daughter knows she has wandered, she knows she has drifted outside of my comfort zone for her life & she knows something needs to change. Every husband knows this look from his wife, every employee knows this look from their boss, every wide receiver knows this look from his QB. Every Christian should know this look from God!
We need to train our young people to simply, intuitively walk by faith. Not because they have spent hours with mentors discussing Gods will, not because they have spent months waiting on Gods will but simply because, the sheep know the shepherds voice.
Jesus tells a parable of an unprofitable servant in Lk 17:7-10:
7 And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’? 8 But will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink’? 9 Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. 10 So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’ ”
Doing college ministry for the last decade I have learned that one of the greatest dangers we face is a generation of young people who “do their duty” but don’t know their master. Instead of knowing Christ because of grace they believe they follow him out of their own merit. They don’t party, drink & sleep around and they believe that this sums up their salvation & their faith. However, the master wants more from us than simply doing what we were commanded to do. He wants us to know him!
Do you really believe that God wants to instruct you & guide you today? Do you know that his eye is on you? Do you know the look? The simple glance of God that makes us re-evaluate where we are going, what we are doing, and who we are becoming.
Our homework for our students this week is to come back & report on a moment when God gave us “the look”. Would you consider doing the same?