When God Reschedules Plans2 Corinthians 1:12-20Theme: Criticism and Conscience.This week’s lessons teach us why a conscience unguided by Scripture leads to destruction.
LessonIf we really are serious about following God’s will and going in the way he wants us to go, then we will surrender to his change of plans in our lives. We might say to God, “God, your way does not look like the shortest way. My way appears shorter. But if you attempt to do things your way, it will create a detour. God knows that you cannot see the path ahead. You do not know what is coming. But when he changes your path, it is because he knows that doing so is really the quickest way to get you where you are going. Paul had learned to follow God’s leading, even when it did not look like the right way to go. Paul knew that if God’s way did not look right to him, the trouble was his own perception.
If you drive along a road on a very hot day, you can see heat waves rising up from the asphalt. As the heat waves rise, they ripple, and the road appears very uneven. That is because the atmospheric conditions distort your perception. The road is not actually bending, nor is it uneven. The road is actually straight even though it does not seem straight. Incidentally, that is the same phenomenon that makes the stars sparkle. The atmospheric conditions wobble the air so that the stars seem to sparkle. That is the way it is with God’s plan. God has a direct plan. It is a straight road. But because we cannot see clearly, we say, “It does not seem to be straight.” We chafe under his changes. Paul had learned not to do that. He had learned to trust God. When God directed Paul to do something, Paul did it.
The third thing Paul did when he was criticized – you find it in verses 21 and 22 – was examine his relationship to Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit. “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” So when plans changed, Paul sat down and re-examined his relationship to Jesus Christ because Christ was his Master. Even though Paul’s circumstances changed so that he was not able to do what he wanted to do, that was okay with him, because he was not his own. Paul belonged to Jesus Christ, so he would submit to what Jesus Christ would do with him. Jesus was his Master.
Paul uses a number of important terms in speaking of his union with Christ. He says that he was anointed into Christ. An anointing set somebody apart for something special. The term anointed one is actually the word Messiah, which is the word Christ. So, when we talk about Jesus Christ, we are talking about Jesus the Messiah, or Jesus the Anointed One. Paul believed that just as God had set Jesus Christ apart to a special task, anointing him to it, so he too had been anointed for a task given to him by Jesus Christ.
Why is it unwise to try to run our own lives?
Where does the trouble lie when God’s way does not look right to us?
Key PointWhen God changes your path, it is because he knows that doing so is really the quickest way to get you where you are going.
ReflectionWho or what is your master? That truth is usually revealed in how you respond to unexpected or difficult circumstances.