His strength lay in the silent knowledge of his own abilities and courage.”
–Dave P. Fisher (Where No Man Rules)
“Keep every command I am giving you today, so that you may have the strength to cross into and possess the land you are to inherit.”
–Deuteronomy 11:8 (HCSB)
I recently heard a sermon where the preacher said we need to get away from the familiar. We should have nothing to do with the familiar. Now, I tried to keep the cynical-skeptic under control as I listened. He admitted to have a Millennial perspective so I tried to see what he meant by the “familiar.”
My mind began to whirl. Shouldn’t we be familiar with God? Shouldn’t that be one of our main goals in life–to be His friend and how can we do that if we are not familiar with Him? The minister used the example of Abram, going to a place with which he was unfamiliar. Okay, I get that part, but…let me give some examples.
When I go camping I want to be familiar with my tools. I want to know how to use an axe properly, and let me tell you I’ve seen folks who didn’t and it was a scary sight to behold. I want to know how to use a knife, and then sharpen it. I want to know how to put up a tent, even in the rain. I want to know how to build a fire, even in the rain, and cook something over it besides hotdogs on a sharpened stick. I want to be able to identify poison ivy and poison oak. I want to be able to identify animals in the area. I want to know where I am, what kind of terrain I’m in, what season it is. In other words, I want to be as familiar with my equipment and the locations as possible.
Maybe it’s the military in my life, but I want to be familiar with my weapons. I want to be as familiar as I can with the enemy’s tactics and strategies. What will he use against me? What type of snares are there along the trail? The same is true of the enemy of our soul–the devil. In fact, Paul says that we should not be ignorant with his devices, schemes, snares (2 Corinthians 2:11). We may not have ventured into the region in which we find ourselves, but we can study and know the characteristics of the place, the people, the food, the culture, etc.
One thing I sensed in the message is that one thing he would mention is that we need to get away from the familiar–the voice of authority and do my thing. In my mind, I am thinking, he means to get away from putting himself under someone, listening to experience, studying hard and just by going out and doing his thing everything will be hunky-dory. It made me think of someone I read recently from Dave Roever.
“God allows times of suffering to teach us obedience. Obedience is not achieved by never being satisfied, running in every direction looking for your ship to come in, and thinking that a better deal will leave the failures of your past to remain there. Those failures will follow you until they discipline you and guide you for a future, albeit, without any promise of success. But it is a promise of a future! Success hinges on, and is determined in our darkest hours, not by a light revealing the end of the journey, but by the light which reveals the next step. If you don’t take the next step, you will get nowhere fast. Take the next step. That much you can see. It’s not what you cannot see that threatens you. If’s not taking the next step that will derail you.”
True, the next step may not be familiar, but when you take it you depend upon your experiences, you depend on your training, you depend on your skills and knowledge, and mostly importantly of all–you depend upon God. In all these things you should be familiar.