Have you ever been misled by a GPS? A lot of people have, including me. I remember one instance when my GPS told me to take a certain freeway. Then it said to turn right at the next off ramp. I obeyed. I turned right. Then it told me to turn left. Then it said to turn right. And then it directed me back to the freeway. I thought, “What was that?” There was no reason to do that. I think the GPS was trying to mess with my mind.
Then there was a woman from Boston who made a right turn onto railroad tracks at the direction of her GPS. Her minivan got stuck on the tracks, but she and her children managed to get out before a commuter rail trained slammed into their vehicle.
We shouldn’t always do what a GPS tells us to do.
God has created certain animals with homing instincts, with built-in GPS units if you will. One of the most amazing examples is the Golden Plover, a bird native to Hawaii. During the summer, the Plovers migrate north to the Aleutian Islands. They lay their eggs, and when the eggs are hatched, the adult Plovers leave. They don’t provide their fledglings with little GPS units or smartphones. They don’t even send them a tweet. Yet somehow these little birds find their way to Hawaii. They make the journey to a place where they’ve never been.
God has placed a homing instinct inside human beings, who are uniquely made in his image. We don’t know what it is at first, but we know this much: From the moment we are born, we’re on a quest. It starts with toys. Then it is something else. It is this relationship or that possession. It is this position or that accomplishment. We have a homesickness for a place we’ve never been before, a place called Heaven. God wired us that way. The Bible says in the book of Ecclesiastes, 3:11, “He has also set eternity in the human heart” (NIV).
We have a homesickness for a place we’ve never been before, a place called Heaven.
Once we figure this out, we develop an eternal perspective. We see things in light of eternity. We realize that things on earth, though pleasurable and fun at times, are temporal. There are eternal things, things that matter even more. It changes the way we think and the way we live.
Abraham was a man who had an eternal perspective. He was called by God to leave his homeland, to leave his family, and go to an unknown destination. He packed up and went, leaving no forwarding address. And he changed his world.
There are only 11 chapters in the book of Genesis devoted to the first 2,000 years of human history. But then there are 14 chapters dedicated to the life of one man: Abraham. In the New Testament, he is named 74 times, and Hebrews, chapter 11, devotes one-third of its verses to Abraham and his wife Sarah. That’s a lot of ink. God must have wanted us to know about this great patriarch of the faith.
Abraham lived in a pagan culture. His family all worshiped false gods. He probably had been an idol worshiper himself. Despite this, God handpicked Abraham (Abram at the time) and came to him and said, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you” (NIV). God didn’t tell him what that land was. He didn’t tell him where that land was. Nor did he tell him where he would live.
Abraham didn’t have a road map. But what he had was a directive from God. To his credit, without argument, Abraham obeyed God. God said to go, and he went. This was faith in action.
World changers obey God. There are certain things God tells us not to do, and the reason he says that is to protect us. If God says not to do something, that is because it’s a bad thing. If God says to do something, that is because it’s a good thing. If God says to stay away from something, that is for our own benefit.
God told Abraham to make a clean break with his past and his family. Why? Because they were detrimental to his spiritual growth.
What kind of influence is your family having on you? What kind of influence are your friends having on you? Let’s turn it around. What kind of influence are you having on them? World changers influence their surroundings.
Sometimes our circumstances change, but if we are men or women of God, circumstances won’t change us. The Bible tells the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, three teenage boys who were plucked from their homeland and sent to a pagan country known as Babylon. Everyone was worshiping false gods and ultimately would bow down before the image of the king – all except Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They had faith in God and stood their ground, reminding us that world changers are almost always a minority and rarely, if ever, a majority.
If we are men or women of God, circumstances won’t change us.
It is often the one man or one woman who will stand up for what is true, the one who is far more concerned about God’s opinion, who stands up and says what is right.
We can’t control our entire environment. We may be in a workplace with people who don’t believe. We may be in a classroom around people who don’t share our faith. We may be in a family with unbelievers. I’m not saying we can change that. But there is a difference between those we’re around and those we choose to spend time with. Find friends who will build you up in your faith and increase your appetite for spiritual things, not people who drag you down and decrease your appetite for spiritual things.
We need people who will change their world today. America so desperately needs God. America so desperately needs to hear the Gospel. America needs world changers. America needs you. It needs you to do your part. I know that is a big order. But let’s localize it and talk about your world, your sphere of influence where you can make an impact like Abraham did. Do you want to change the world? Start by changing your world.
This post originally appeared on Greg Laurie’s blog and was republished with permission.