Cheat Codes

Cheat Codes

This is a follow up to the article Next Level Christian where I encouraged the brothers and sisters to level up and go the second mile – “but wait, there’s more!”

Even as I finished the article, I thought to myself that I haven’t answered the obvious question:  “OK, smarty pants, exactly how do I level up?”  And my smarty pants answer would be, “I can’t tell you that.”  Which is absolutely true.  Honestly, I hardly know how to level up myself.

In fact, my son and I were talking and he earnestly asked me, “How do I know what God’s will is for me?”  Funny you should ask, I said and told him I was writing this article.  I decided to call it Cheat Codes because of the connection with the video game analogy of “level up.”  Wictionary says a cheat code is a line of text or series of commands which can be used to change a game’s behavior, alter a character’s looks and abilities, skip levels, or access other hidden features.  For non-gamers, that’s a short cut.  The problem is, with God, there are no cheat codes, no short cuts, no magic words, and no tricks.  

Having said that, it doesn’t mean that God just leaves us out their to flail about on our own without any guidance.  He doesn’t do that.  But he doesn’t send us a text either saying “here are the exact steps you need to take in order to be in my perfect will for the rest of your life.”  Much to our chagrin at times, the Bible isn’t an instruction manual – it’s a biography of God and his people.  We learn that God is far from absent, but he is oftentimes mysterious.  We are to read this story with the purpose of knowing God intimately, and from that vantage point decide what our actions should be.  In day-to-day living, I sometimes find it frustrating not to have walking orders in certain areas of my life.  

For example, I don’t wait well.  Patience is definitely not my virtue.  Instead, I am a compulsively organized preplanner.  It is my version of having control over my life.  I almost can’t function at all without a plan – any plan.  God is humorous though.  He has seen fit to fill my life with procrastinators who, often enough, have things turn out better because they procrastinated!  It’s annoying.  I am reminded of the closing catchphrase of The A-Team (an 80’s TV series), “I love it when a plan comes together.”  My life seldom goes as planned, but I frequently see that it all comes together in the way that God has planned, despite what I do or don’t do to mess it up.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Rom 8:28

Sometimes I envy people who received their calling at a young age and knew for sure that’s what God wanted them to do.  They set about getting their training, went into the field they were called to, and live out their life grateful to be right where God called them to be.  Or, maybe that’s just how it looks on the outside.  I am definitely not that person.  I’ve had an amazingly variegated life.  I try something and, if if it doesn’t work, I go on to something else.  Without a doubt, my life has been interesting if not predictable.  I desperately need a plan, but I can also abandon a plan that doesn’t work for something else that does.  Let’s just say I’m rigidly flexible (or is it flexibly rigid?).  I can easily go with the flow as long as I know where the flow is going.

I’ve struggled with direction for the better part of my life, but I’ve really, really struggled with it for the past five years or so.  I thought I knew exactly where God wanted me to be, but it hasn’t manifested itself at all like I thought it would.  I had FAITH!  But that plan didn’t pan out (you know, the one in my head).  In spite of the disappointments, I still hold fast that GOD has a plan, even though I sometimes feel like he hasn’t included me in the memo.

At this point, you are thinking, “What on earth has this got to do with cheat codes?” and why aren’t there any?

My best answer is that life is a journey.  The first leg of our journey is to find Christ and then embark on a new journey as his disciple.  On this leg, we work to become sanctified.  [Big churchy word alert!!]  The technical definition of sanctification is to be “set apart for special use and purpose.”  But that tiny little definition has a great big meaning.  What it really means is that there is a life-long process by which we use spiritual disciplines to become more like Christ, more holy.  We are preparing ourselves for entrance into the Kingdom of God once this earthly life is over.  As part of this process, we act as agents for Christ is this world.  We are his hands and feet. As we physically perform his work, we are spiritually transformed into a more clear and perfect image of God, which is what we were created to be all along.  

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.  Gen 1:27

The Preplanners Guide to No Plan:

  1. Do the last thing you know you are supposed to do.
  2. Practice spiritual disciplines:
    1. Bible intake
    2. Prayer
    3. Worship
    4. Evangelism
    5. Serving
    6. Stewardship
    7. Fasting
    8. Silence and solitude
    9. Journaling
    10. Learning

Note:  This list is from Spiritual Disciples for the Christian Life, by Donald S. Whitney.  I highly recommend this book.  I keep it handy and refer to it often.

  1. Wait to see what God is doing and get on board.

“If you do what you can, with what you have, where you are, then God won’t leave you where you are, and He will increase what you have.”  Bill Purvis, Pastor (quoted in The Maxwell Daily Reader:   365 Days of Insight to Develop the Leader Within You and Influence Those Around You).

More encouragement from Romans 8:

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.  And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Rom 8:26-27

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  Rom 8:31

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Rom 8:37-39

Godspeed Saints, Godseed.

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