Remember when you used to go out, with your friends? The first one to call "shotgun!" got to sit in the front seat as a passenger.
In our relationship with God, He wants to be the driver, but has given us the great opportunity to ride "shotgun" with him. He won't force us to ride alongside Him. But, if we choose to drive our own lives, He will not be in the car with us.
How do we ensure that we are letting God drive, while we ride "shotgun" in our lives?
1. SECURE God's guiding presence
In the Old Testament, God used the Tabernacle to show how following Him was the way to move through life. When the New Testament came, Jesus took over where the Tabernacle left off. The Tabernacle was made of wood and gold and couldn't affect change from the inside of a person; Jesus - through the power of the Holy Spirit - now leads from inside of our hearts.
The Tabernacle required sacrifice of bulls, rams, goats, and even doves. Jesus now asks for simple obedience. Obedience opens the way for securing God's guiding presence.
It is through obedience that we show God that we are serious about letting Him take over our lives and drive. Obedience is our way of saying, "I'm riding shotgun."
2. SUBMIT to God's unexpected but perfect travel schedule
Even when we are living in obedience, things never go like we plan or hope. There are changes, setbacks, problems and just plain LIFE! But, God, who is eternal and who knows the future as well as the past, knows where we are headed and how best to help us through the changes. He has a map and will lead us.
Knowing all of this doesn't help unless we are submitted to where God is taking us. Many Christians are living their lives out of duty. They go to church and do all the "churchy" things because they are supposed to. But, submission is not slavery, it is a willful bending of our will to what God is doing in our lives.
God will always take care of you in the best way possible. Remember, He is never late and never early; God is always on time.
3. FOLLOW God's directions, not yours
After we have submitted ourselves to God, we then have to actually DO what He is showing/telling us to do.
Following God is hard because 1) He's invisible and we can't use our eyes to see where He is heading (or use any of our other senses, for that matter) and 2) God isn't taking you where you want to go; He is taking you where He wants you to go.
Remember, God already knows what's coming up and He has a purpose He wants to fulfill in you. In order to do that, you've got to take every step He places in your path - one step at a time.
Following God is not easy. But, it gets easier with each step.
4. Use God's WORD to confirm God's direction
At this point, many people will say, "How can anyone follow an invisible God who's taking me where He wants me to go, in His timing, His way?"
That's where God's Word comes into play. Remember, you've already got the Holy Spirit inside of you (if you've accepted Jesus' invitation to become a member of His family). You will be nudged by the Holy Spirit as to who, what, when, where, why and how. But, you're not taking stabs in the dark. God's word will agree with what He is telling you to do.
If, at any time, anything you feel God is calling you to do does not agree with His word, STOP and reevaluate what you are sensing in your Spirit. God will never contradict what He has said in His Word.
Sound crazy? Well, God's ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than ours. But, if we align ourselves by 1) Securing His guiding presence, 2) Submitting to His unexpected but perfect travel schedule, 3) Following His direction and not our own and 4) Using His Word to confirm His direction, we will be safely inside God's will and plan for our lives. And that is the best way to travel anywhere in life.
"Okay God, I'll ride shotgun!"