Choosing Intimacy with God over Isolation

Choosing Intimacy with God over Isolation

The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.
–Proverbs 16:9

Maps can be crucial for providing direction, especially when you’re in unfamiliar territory. But the only thing worse than having no map when you’re in unfamiliar territory is having the wrong map. In his book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” Stephen Covey wrote about the importance of having the right map: “Suppose you wanted to arrive at a specific location in central Chicago. A street map of the city would be a great help to you in reaching your destination. But suppose you were given the wrong map. Through a printing error, the map labeled ‘Chicago’ was actually a map of Detroit. Can you imagine the frustration, the ineffectiveness of trying to reach your destination? You might work on your behavior–you could try harder, be more diligent, double your speed. But your efforts would only succeed in getting you to the wrong place faster. You might work on your attitude–you could think more positively. You still wouldn’t get to the right place, but perhaps you wouldn’t care. Your attitude would be so positive, you’d be happy wherever you were. The point is, you’d still be lost. The fundamental problem has nothing to do with your behavior or your attitude. It has everything to do with having a wrong map.”

The problem with most motivational books and motivational sermon series, even the Christian ones, is that they talk about things like setting goals and persevering and having the right attitude without providing you with the right map. And by map, I’m talking about the way of viewing life. A geographical map is helpful in getting from point A to point B, and it is based on certain geographical realities. In the same way, a spiritual map shows us how to get from where we are into the place we want to be in our relationship with God. And this spiritual map is also based on certain spiritual realities. Just imagine you did arrive in Chicago and instead of asking for a map of the city you decided to draw your own map of Chicago, even though you’ve never been there. You base your map on what you wish Chicago were like instead of what it is actually like. The result would be a disaster, wouldn’t it? It is the same thing when we try to create our own spiritual map, when we try to worship the god of our own understanding, according to what we wish God were instead of what He actually is. When we just make up reality, the end is going to be disaster. We have got to have the right spiritual map if we are going to be successful in life.

During the past several weeks, we have been studying biblical attitude choices that are absolutely crucial in life. This week, we are going to look at the most foundational attitude choice of all, the only one that will give you a proper spiritual map of life, and that is the decision to choose intimacy with God over isolation from God. All other attitude choices that we make should be built on the foundational decision of choosing intimacy with God.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Choosing Companionship over Loneliness” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2019.

Steven R. Covey, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1989), 23-24.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.