Do you ever feel like you're walking in circles? You're trying to live right, serve God and follow his will, but for the life of you, you can't seem to keep on track. Or maybe you think you are on track, only to find that you've veered way off course. I saw an excellent example of this the other day on MythBusters.
I don't know if you've ever watched the show, but the premise is that this group of scientists perform various test to prove or disprove a myriad of myths. On this particular episode, the myth was that it is impossible to travel in a straight line while blindfolded, so the scientists put it to the test. At first, they blindfolded themselves and tried walking in a straight line toward a predetermined point. The results were astounding. Not only could they not travel in a straight line, but they spent most of their time actually walking in circles.
Next, they tried swimming. With blindfolds in place, they set out across a narrow channel to see if they could reach the other side. Once again, before they had traveled far, each of them was veering off course, and eventually, they began traveling in circles once again.
Lastly, they tried driving while blindfolded. (Please do not try this at home. They are professionals and were performing this test in a safe location where they could not hurt anyone or themselves.) Each of the scientists had their doubts that they would veer off course when driving a car. After all, all you have to do is hold the steering wheel still, and the vehicle should track true. But that was not the case. While their travels weren't as haphazard as their other attempts, their course was anything but a straight line. Thus, the myth was confirmed. It is impossible to travel in a straight line while blindfolded.
When we walk by faith and not by sight, we are essentially blindfolded, and without the guidance of the Holy Spirit, it is impossible to travel straight and true. This is why Proverbs 3:5-6 is in the Bible:
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
The Lord warns us not to lean on our understanding but to trust him to direct our paths. When the scientists were performing this test, they declared several times that they could feel themselves being pulled in a particular direction, but when they said they felt pulled to the left, they were actually veering to the right. But based on their understanding of what was happening, they instinctively corrected their course by pulling to the right because they felt they were veering to the left. This resulted in them getting further and further off course and eventually traveling in circles.
If we're not careful, we can do the same. Focused on our own understanding of the situation, we can make hasty judgments and end up getting further off course in our spiritual race. It may seem like we need to go left when, in actuality, we need to go right. It may feel like we need to wait, but God says it's time to move. It may seem like the time to speak, but it's actually the time to be quiet and listen. Our own understanding is fickle and is easily influenced by so many factors surrounding us, including our feelings. Our own thoughts cannot be trusted. That's what faith is all about. It's not about believing in what we see, hear or feel, but rather believing in God. Faith allows God to direct our paths, And faith is what we need to finish our race. Otherwise, we may find ourselves endlessly traveling in circles, always going but never getting anywhere. And that, my friend, makes for a very weary Christian!