Recalculate! For the kingdom of God is here.
Recalculating. Recalculating. Perhaps you’ve heard these words from a soothing yet somewhat bionic voice from your car’s GPS unit or maps app. Every time you miss a turn as you try to reach your destination, or get turned around, or go too far or not far enough, your helpful little GPS unit speaks the truth to you in love and tells you it is recalculating to direct you to where you need to go.
Mark begins his gospel account of Jesus’ life with this quote from Jesus at the beginning of His ministry, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe in the gospel.” What did Jesus mean by “repent” here? Is it a crushing proclamation of judgment like “bullhorn and poster man” does on street corners? Or is it a more loving call to stop going in the wrong direction and be redirected on to the right path?
Do you know what I appreciate about a GPS unit? It never says, “You idiot! You just missed your turn again!” It never grows impatient and yells at you as you get yourself more and more lost. It never questions your intelligence, your value, or your worth when you go in the wrong direction. It never says you are just too lost and you have to go back to where you first started to even hope that you will get to your destination. It never shuts down after it says, “Forget it! I am done talking to you. You just don’t listen.” It simply says, “Recalculating,” and gives you the next step to get you to where you need to go.
I think most sin isn’t so much us wanting to be bad or evil, but us wanting to go our own way. As Proverb 16:25 states, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” Adam and Eve weren’t so much tempted to reject God, but to go their own way in becoming like Him. Our own way often leads us into mess after mess, yet God’s Spirit is constantly coming alongside us and calling us to follow Him.
What’s the first turn? Toward Jesus. This is perhaps the hardest as well. Our world tells us to trust our instincts, our feelings, and whatever makes us happy at the moment. God calls us to trust in Him no matter what we feel like or desire. While we often live as if we know the best way, it is God alone who truly knows the way to abundant life.
So Jesus calls us back. Forges new paths back to the way of life. God already knows every sin, every evil, every flaw, every weakness, every wrong turn we have taken, are taking, and will take. Yet He is still willing to forgive us, love us, and bring us back to the path He has for us. No matter how lost we are, how far we have gotten from our start or our destination, or how turned around we find ourselves, He calls us to recalculate and return to The Way, The Truth, and The Life.
I pray that the next time the Holy Spirit whispers into your heart the need to recalculate (and I have no doubt He does so with all of us on a daily basis), that you will listen to His direction and let Him steer you back to His way for you. Then may you enjoy the journey that is The Way, The Truth, and The Life.
Have a recalculating summer,