Directions are a big part of our life. We have the basic north, south, east and west that we use all the time. They usually refer to longer distances or areas. “I’m going up north for vacation.” “They go down south for the winter.” “We live on the west side of the Detroit area.” “I have enjoyed going to visit out east, but would not like to live there.” Right and left are reserved for more of a local area. “Go about a mile and turn right at the old red barn.” “Follow that road for about a half mile and the place you are looking for is on the left.” Up and down can also be thrown into the mix at times, as in “The place you are looking for is up the road a piece” or maybe “Go down the hill and you can’t miss it.” We would be lost, geographically, if we didn’t have directions.
When it comes to our spiritual lives we have directions. We think of Heaven as in one direction and Hell, well that is in the other. As we have gone through this year the elders have asked us to think about three directions. They are more general in nature rather than specific and deal with people and relationships more than places. We can remember these though the idea of IOU dealing with our response to what has been given us.
We are to look inward to each other. This is a focus on the body and what we can do for each other. What have you done for a brother or sister this past week or month? In what ways have you encouraged them? Maybe stopping by to visit someone who would enjoy sitting and talking? Sending a card just to say you were thinking about them? Praying for them is always a great way to be there for them. God wants us to be an encouragement for our brothers and sisters.
We also need to look outward, to those who are outside of God’s kingdom. We often think of those that are in need or down on their luck. And we do need to be there to serve and help them. But looking outward isn’t about just serving someone in need, it is about bringing them into God’s salvation. Who is not a part of God’s kingdom that you can you drop an encouraging note to, maybe stop by and say hi to? But don’t stop there, though Satan wants you to, go ahead and invite them to be a part of something we are doing here. Maybe to be part of one of our small groups that are starting back up, maybe to join you on a Sunday morning or at one of our fellowship activities. Or maybe ask if they are open to studying God’s word with you. Our focus can’t be just inward, it must also be outward.
These two things are hard, and take looking past one’s self. Which is where the “U” or Upward comes in. Looking to God to grasp what has been done for you. Looking to God to help you as you look past yourself to others. Looking to God for peace when this world does not provide it. In all that we are doing, make sure you set aside time to be with God each day. Maybe it is five minutes most days and then a longer period when you can. Don’t leave God out, He is our strength!
So what direction are you going to go? Left? East? Down? Regardless of what physical direction you travel through this world make sure that you are looking inward to encourage your brothers and sisters, outward to help others know of God’s love for them and upward to your Heavenly Father for the guidance as you go forward, remembering what has been done for you.
On the move,