Jesus knew the ensuing chaos of a world where He was not welcomed or wanted. He could foresee the world in which we, his followers, would temporarily reside until His return to Earth…and He prayed.
“I pray for them. I am not praying for the world but for those you have given me, because they are Yours. Everything I have is Yours, and everything you have is mine, and I am glorified in them. I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, protect them by Your name that You have given me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I was protecting them by Your name that You have given me. I guarded them and not one of them is lost…” [John 17:9-12]
Are you familiar with a quote I often see, “All who wander are not lost.”? Let’s take a look at some definitions:
Lost – having gone astray or missed the way; bewildered as to place or direction
Wander – to go aimlessly, indirectly, or casually; to extend in an irregular course or direction, to
roam or stray
Lost people definitely wander; however, to be genuinely lost is an involuntary situation. The lost person did not venture out with the intention of straying off path. A ‘wanderer’ voluntarily deviates from a specific course…deliberately chooses to explore apart from the designed path. Jesus, while on Earth accomplishing His Father’s mission, was vigilant to ensure that all those that God, His Father, had entrusted to Him…all those with whom he regularly ‘did life’…were not lost under his watch. All who spent a fair amount of time conversing with Jesus knew, “…The Way, The Truth, and The Life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will also know my Father.” Jesus clearly communicated God’s designated path. He even went a step further to provide a Guide that would reside within those who chose to follow Him after He returned to His Father’s presence,
“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever. He is the Spirit of truth. The world is unable to receive Him because it doesn’t see Him or know Him. But you do know Him, because He remains with you and will be in you. I have spoken these things to you while I remain with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you…When the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak whatever He hears. He will also declare to you what is to come. He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.” [John 14:16-17, John 16:13-14]
We can control whether those who we ‘do life’ with are lost. We cannot control whether they will wander. In our world today, how can we confidently be able to echo Christ’s words when we stand in Our Father God’s presence,
“…While I was with them, I was protecting them by Your name…I guarded them and not one of them is lost…” [John 17:12]?
Peter, one of Jesus’s most passionate disciples, offers us applicable insight as to what “protecting” and “guarding” ourselves and others looks like in everyday life. Peter was well qualified to give this advice, as he was completely caught off guard by his own behavior when surrounded by those discrediting Jesus (Matthew 26:31, 33-35, 69-75).
“Dear friends…I want to stir up your sincere understanding by way of reminder, so that you recall the words previously spoken by the holy prophets and the command of our Lord and Savior given through your apostles.” [2 Peter 3:1-2]
In 2 Peter, Chapter One, Peter described his personal experience of visibly seeing and following Jesus during His earthly ministry,
“For we did not follow cleverly contrived myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; instead, we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to Him from the Majestic Glory, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased! We ourselves heard this voice when it came from heaven while we were with him on the holy mountain.”
Peter then, endorses God’s written word, as Peter’s followers did not have the experience of visibly seeing Christ and personally interacting with Jesus,
“We also have the prophetic word strongly confirmed, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you know this: No prophecy of Scripture comes from the prophet’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the will of man; instead, men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” [2 Peter 1:19-21]
Do you want to ‘protect’ and ‘guard’ yourself and those whom God has entrusted to you from getting lost? Peter reminded his followers of these key principles found in God’s Word,
- “Above all, be aware of this: Scoffers will come in the last days scoffing and following their own evil desires.” [2 Peter 3:3]
We live in a Romans 1:18-32 world…a world where Jesus Christ and His principles are not welcomed or wanted within the norms of society. Colossians 2:6-8 is an excellent passage to memorize,
“So then, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, being rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing with gratitude. Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on the elements of the world, rather than Christ.”
In the Smoky Mountains, where I live, there are over 900 miles of trail. Many trails have intersections with other trails, as well as footpaths that appear like trails, but are actually places where wanderers have explored off trail. Staying on the proper trail takes focus on following official park signs and being intentional about knowing exactly what trail you are on…regular evaluation and examination of what direction you are headed. Wise people consult a guidebook. If we are to avoid getting lost in this world, as well as help those God has entrusted to us to avert being lost, we must consult, endorse, and utilize The Guidebook…God’s Word.
- “Dear friends, don’t overlook this one fact: With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.” [2 Peter 3:8-9]
Humanly, we look at the chaos of the world around us and wonder where God is…how could He not intervene, take control, and stop the madness? He will…in His time, not our human time-table. God’s timing is on a completely different wave length than our give-me-a-fix-now mentality. Don’t allow other’s skepticism to shake your trust in our all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful God. Take time to read Hebrews 10:35-39 again [mentioned in Confidence In Chaos, Part One], memorize these verses, and use them to,
“…warn those who are idle, comfort the discouraged, help the weak…” [ I Thessalonians 5:14].
- “Dear friends, while you wait…make every effort to be found without spot or blemish in His sight, at peace.” [2 Peter 3:14]
Are you at peace? Peace is defined as,
“a state of mutual harmony between people or groups, especially in personal relations…cessation of or freedom from any strife or dissension” and “freedom of the mind from annoyance, distraction, anxiety, an obsession, etc.; tranquility; serenity.”
Who doesn’t want peace? Everyone wants peace, yet often, the choices many people make end in chaos…the very thing they were trying to escape. As we follow the principles found in God’s Word, we find peace. When we are at peace, despite surrounding chaos, people notice. Philippians 2:13-15 instructs,
“For it is God who is working in you both to will and to work according to His good purpose. Do everything without grumbling and arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world, by holding firm to the word of life.”
Have you ever come to a ‘spaghetti junction’ on an interstate and been unsure of whether you need to be heading east or west, north or south? Its definitely unnerving to lose confidence in the direction you are currently heading. God’s Word serves as our GPS system…we can be at peace and have confidence knowing exactly where we need to be going in the midst of all the jumbled roads and highway options. Is the way not clear at the moment? Keep heading in the direction you were going and ‘pull over’ as soon as you are able. Further consult with your Heavenly Father and His Guidebook,
“Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God—who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly—and it will be given to him.” [James 1:5]
- “Dear friends…be on your guard, so that you are not led away by the error of lawless people and fall from your own stable position.” [2 Peter 3:17]
Jesus was burdened for our well-being in this sin-cursed, chaotic world; He did not leave us without a guide. He provided a way for mankind, whom His Father had entrusted to Him, to never have to be involuntarily lost. Through the Holy Spirit, our guide, and God’s Word, our guidebook, we can know God’s designated path for us. We can also ensure that the people we ‘do life’ with…those God has entrusted to us…are not lost. I personally, have a wandering daughter. There are some that God has brought into my path that I have ministered to over the years that wander, but I can still confidently stand before my Heavenly Father, and say as Jesus did,
“While I was with them, I was protecting them by Your name that you have given me. I guarded them and not one of them is lost…”
Can you echo Jesus’s words when you stand before your Heavenly Father?