Mike Deer is the former Youth Pastor of Catch The Fire Toronto. He is a man on fire for God and he currently lives...
"Just get lost!"
When I was young, one of my siblings shared this sentiment a number of times with me. Then one day it happened. I had been a leader and a guide on multiple outdoor outings for several years, and there I was on “Manitoulin Island” in northern Ontario leading a group down a pathway called the “Cup and Saucer Trail.” It was a relatively easy and well-marked hiking route, and for a taste of adventure I decided to try something different.
My first mistake.
I let my group of friends get a bit ahead of me, and because I knew that the trail curled up ahead to the right, I took off through the bush in hopes to cut them off at the pass and “ambush” them.
The little boy in me giggled with excitement as I ran off on a tangent that would surely take me straight to where the trail would cross. But as I beat back bushes, small trees, continuing to hurdle fallen pines and dead birches, I came to the conclusion that somehow I must have gone too far to the right and in doing so just missed the path.
The simple answer was to turn to the left, and surely I would shortly find the path and be able to surprise all my friends. With renewed anticipation I set off again moving swiftly through the woods impressed with myself for making such good time with so little noise. However, after traveling 200 yards further, there was still no sign of a trail. How perplexing. The bush was actually quite thick at this point. I climbed a tree, but as much as I tried I could not see any type of marking or indicator that could possibly direct me. Twenty minutes later I finally came to a conclusion... I was lost. For the next hour God allowed the great outdoorsman in me to be humbled to the point where I finally admitted defeat and cried out for help.
"The wonderful news of Christ is that we all have a great destiny."
When Jesus came to Zaccheus, He said, “The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10 NIV). Zaccheus was a short man who worked in a despised occupation with no possible natural advantage when it came to having an encounter with Jesus.
Yet, he was about to realize his incredible destiny. The wonderful news of Christ is that we all have a great destiny. No matter what we or others may think our limitations are, we each have a powerful promise and a bright future. That is why our Heavenly Father sent His Son to seek us out and to save us.
In fact, Jesus’ call to this generation is this: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are downtrodden, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4:18-19 NIV).
This is not about the distant future; it is now. This is the day, this is the year. For us to truly understand this we must see it. Our greatest hindrance when it comes to discovering our destiny is lack of vision. We must see God’s truth for our lives. This is why He brings sight to the blind, so they can see. Zaccheus wanted to see this Jesus; so he did what it took to get in a place where no matter what his limitations were, he could see Jesus. Many people are good at seeing what is missing in their lives; but that is exactly what the devil wants us to do. When you are always seeing what is missing, you really miss seeing what is. Zaccheus surely could have simply moped around saying, “Well, I’ll never get the opportunity to meet Jesus. I am simply too short. And besides, why would He want to talk to me? I am a despised tax collector.”
How often have you heard the phrase, “Seeing is believing”? Young people in our generation are rising up with hunger for God. They simply believe; therefore they see. If you have lost your vision, know this: God wants to restore your vision to you. I literally believe that what you see is what you get. You must see it, believe it, get it and spread it.
Having vision gives life, and without it we will die (Psalm 29:18). Habakkuk 2:2 says to write the vision down that you might run with it, for it will happen at the appointed time. Vision gives us a sense of purpose and purpose always leads to passion. Our passion motivates us to be disciplined, and our discipline gives us the ability to act on our vision, to walk in our destinies.
This past summer at camp, we had a formal dinner event. When some of the guys heard that some of the girls were getting dressed up, they then recieved a vision; and that vision led them to be enthusiastic about the purpose. They were motivated to be disciplined enough to dress up and look better than I have ever seen them yet. And it all started with the vision.
“Destiny is found in our relationship with our Heavenly Father.”
As a youth pastor, one of my favorite games is called Paradise Lost. It teaches spiritual truth in a way the youth enjoy. Playing it involves blindfolding players and releasing them in a field, to seek out a place on the field designated as paradise. The only way they can get there is with a guide. But there are good guides and bad guides. The struggle is to determine who is who. Those who reach paradise receive their sight, and then go and help others find their way to paradise. It is fun to play and watch, but no one appreciates being the last one left wandering through the field blind.
Jesus’ great commandment is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart soul and mind and to love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37 NIV). Then the great commission follows to “go and make disciples of all nations.” We need to see God’s destiny for ourselves and bring it to others.
We often quote Jeremiah 29:11 saying that God has plans for us not to harm us but to prosper us to give us a hope and a future. But if we believe that this is true, we must also believe that the enemy of our souls has a plan for us as well. He comes to seek and destroy. He would that we remain lost in the woods, bound up by our pride. He simply wants to see that your destiny never comes to fulfillment. Aren’t you tired of hearing him tell you to get lost? Why don’t you tell him to get lost instead?
Real life is not a game. It is God sending us out to reveal His destiny to a lost and hurting generation. And it is centered on this one thought: “Destiny is found in our relationship with our Heavenly Father.” It is not something I work toward or strive to receive. Destiny is something I live every day, something that is given to me. Nor is destiny some far off mark; destiny is indeed now. It is not found in achieving, it is found in being. Destiny is not seeing optimistically what could be; destiny is seeing what is through eyes of faith.Destiny is not something you walk toward; destiny is something you walk in.
1 Peter 5:5 states that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble; so when we let go of our pride and are willing to call out for help, the Father pulls us right back to the path of destiny. It is good to know that we have a Father who wants to do far more for us than we could ever do for ourselves. I am glad I was found that day in the woods. I had to stop looking at the trees and start looking to Him. You can, too.