Importance of 1 Degree

Lets imagine you went to a big sporting event by car.   You parked with the thousands of people in a huge parking lot. The game ends (in your team’s favor of course) and you begin the process of returning to your car. If you know exactly what direction to walk from the correct exit you will find your car. What happens if you are 1 degree angle or more off of the exact direction?

I know not everyone likes math problems, but if you want to find your car and get home after the game then we need to do a little math. In order to make the calculations we need to establish a few facts. Thankfully this is a hypothetical example and we can choose easy numbers. The car is 100 yards from the stadium exit. The exact direction is 0 degrees.

So if you walk 0 degrees for 100 yards, you will literally bump into the car. Have you ever walked perfectly straight in a parking lot to your car? It is impossible.

What happens if you are 10 degrees off of the perfect direction? Walk 100 yards just 10 degree angle off of perfect and you will be over 17 yards (more than 52 feet) from your car, and you don’t know which direction in the dark. Lets try to find your car.

Parking spaces are about (Wikipedia) 16 feet long. In the end you are three parking spaces from your car and thankfully you can probably find it from this distance.

Now lets make it more personal. You attend a huge conference hall with your 6th grader. You leave them at a booth to go to the bathroom 200 feet away. If you are just ten degrees off in your return, you will miss finding your child by 35 feet. Only one degree off and you are still 3 and a half feet off the mark.

What about something that is one mile away? One degree off at this distance and you are over 92 feet from your goal.

Have I convinced you that one degree can be really significant? Next time we will apply this to our spiritual lives. I think you will find this is really important, important enough to change your life.

1 Degree Principle Introduction

For a few years I believe the Lord has been teaching me a principle related to living and God’s will.

Actually this principle is rooted in a much longer-term spiritual learning concept for me – God’s will, God’s way. For about 10 years I have been seeking the Lord’s direction for what it means to live according to not only God’s will, but also as He designed and therefore God’s way. The 1 Degree Principle is one important part of God’s will, God’s way, but only one part.

I think my pondering over the 1 degree started when I was preparing messages on the Sermon on the Mount at the InterNational Church of Wroclaw (INCW). Primarily Matthew 5:48 caught my attention as most translations of the Bible say “be perfect”.

Though it is true the verb in verse 48 is in the future tense, therefore it is that we “will be made perfect”, and I learned it is more about being mature and or complete, it still remains that there is a spiritual type of path for believers.

Add John 14:6 with Matthew 7:13-23 and we get an even better, I believe, idea of the overall process Jesus was teaching. He is the “way” and we are to follow Him (Matthew 16:24).   Jesus implies in Matthew 7 that He is the spiritual “narrow” way, and stating it another way He is the perfect way or path.

That led to me wondering what happens when I fail to follow, as it were perfectly, Jesus according to God’s will (Matthew 7:21-23)?  Thankfully it is by God’s grace, not only for salvation, but also the long-term process of making us “mature and complete to lack nothing” (James 1:2-3) that any of us can spiritually follow Jesus at any time or in any way (read Romans 7:13-25 for an example).  In the end it is God who is truly doing the “hard work” of making it possible for any of us to follow Jesus.

Always keeping God’s grace in mind, it still remains that whenever I swerve even 1 degree from obedience to God’s will, ie following Jesus, I am going down the wrong path. It seems so minor at first to be only a tiny bit off of following Jesus, but the long-term affects can be catastrophic.

My intent is to continue to hone my understanding of this principle as I seek the Lord for His insight on the subject through the Holy Spirit. In response to the search I also intend to begin documenting not only what I learn, but how it affects us in application as well.

I would be honored if you feel led by the Lord to join me in this journey so don’t hesitate to write any comments, insights, suggestions, and or kind disagreement.

Serving Our Savior

Aiming for the Best.

It is said that the “road to hell is paved by good intentions”. As I start this very “overdue” post I reflect on my good intentions of many kinds.

I comfort myself with the idea that my good intentions were a series of some kind of experimentation. Though this is somewhat true, I am concerned that the greatest truth is that I too often fail to make the best use of my time.

How does the spectrum of bad to best work? This is a question to ponder. It occurs to me that it is quite rare that most of us choose the bad side of this spectrum. My guess is that most of us fall in the ok to good area. Does this area leave a bad taste in your mouth?

I am reminded of what the Bible says God will do with everyone in the ok to good area of the spectrum, Revelation 3:16-18. Without going into a deep discussion I hear the need for a focus on the area of the spectrum from good to best or great.

We are told in this passage how to live in the good to great spectrum. I believe it is teaching us to not be satisfied with the lesser and to seek God for the greater. This is easy to say and more challenging to do. This also opens up a huge discussion to which I have too few answers. The one answer I believe summarizes them all is the necessity to repent and surrender everything to God.

As I wrap up this short foray of thoughtful meandering, I think a summary is prudent.

I believe Solomon already pondered and revealed the summary – Ecclesiastes 12:9-14.