…if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law…
A few days ago I went scuba diving with two of my friends. When diving, just before leaving the surface of the water it is important to take a compass reading in the direction of the intended dive site. This is done so you can find it while under water since there are no landmarks (visibility is usually limited to 15 to 20 feet). In other words, it is easy to get turned around and lost while under water without an accurate compass reading. On this particular day, for whatever reason, I did not do so — I relied upon my friends. Down we went to the seabed fifty feet below — one of my friends started swimming and I began to follow him. After about ten minutes I realized we were all following one another in a big, random circle. No one was leading — everyone was following. Finally, I grabbed one of my friends, took a reading off of his compass, then signaled for everyone to follow my lead. Fortunately, we found the dive site that day, and our way back to the boat. If only life were that simple.
As I read our passage today, I thought of my scuba diving experience — Paul is almost posing a question: “If you know God’s will, then how and why do you get so off track?” Answer: Their compass was initially pointed at the Lord — but over time it became directed at each other (they relied on their own interpretations of the Law and lost sight of the Lord’s leadership). Good intentions but poor results. It’s easy to do and is one of the many ways we get off track as well — we want to follow the Lord — instead we end up just following one another in big, random circles.
It is important for each of us to take our direction directly from the Lord. So many get off track because they follow men rather than the Lord. It’s how cults are developed and also one of the reasons the original Ten Commandments morphed into thousands of laws and rules for the Jews to follow. Following men versus following God. Do you know God’s will? Have you been reading and studying your Bible? Does the leadership in your life come from the opinion others, the world, or the Lord? What is your responsibility to know God’s will?