Faith shows itself when we don’t feel like trusting the Lord; it’s when things look and/or feel wrong that we prove ourselves faithful.
2 All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the LORD.
32 Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.
Our feelings can really get in the way of our obedience. It’s not so much a matter of not caring; the Spirit inside us gives us the desire to do His will. It’s the heart that causes so much turmoil. It magnifies the desires of our minds, amps them up, and then our brains dump chemicals into our bodies that are nearly insurmountable. What do we do when we are confronted with the temptation to sin, or to circumvent God and “help Him out?”
- Step back. We are too close to the edge. If our feelings are going crazy, then we are beyond the guard rail! We need to get back on the other side. That may mean leaving the situation and/or friends. Taking a walk usually helps. Praying while we’re walking ALWAYS helps.
- Ask God what He has in mind. He may or may not answer right away, but we know that He has our best interests in mind ACCORDING TO HIS WILL FOR OUR LIVES. More than likely, what we are wanting is not the best thing for us right now. Give Him time to answer, or to change the circumstances.
- Continue in the direction we were headed before we got sidetracked. More than likely, Jesus is still on the path and He is waiting for us to rejoin Him, in a manner of speaking.
There are two other verses in this chapter that we need to remember:
18 Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
19 Better to be lowly in spirit along with the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud.
Whatever we think we want here on this earth is NOT worth giving up the fellowship we have with the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. In fact, the stronger the resistance by the Spirit, the more dangerous the outcome if we fail to heed His warning.
In Bruce Wilkinson’s book, The Secrets of the Vine, he says that every person–especially leaders–will periodically come to a ledge in their walk with Jesus where the precipice is sheer and the drop is deep, but the place we are heading is worth the risk. It’s where Jesus is leading. The problem is that the trail is narrow at that point and to wander away from His side means to fall bigtime. Most of the time, our wandering is caused by little habits of rebellion or laziness or both. Our habits tend to show up at the most inopportune times. We spend our spiritual lives shedding these sinful habits. Bruce says this:
“Can I look back over my walk with God and see very clearly that a sinful behavior I used to be caught up in is no longer an issue? Are there thoughts, attitudes, or habits that used to dominate my life but don’t anymore? If you can answer yes, you’re moving forward and upward with God.”
The reverse, of course, is what we get when we are NOT working on looking like Jesus. The Word of God is our textbook for God-likeness (godliness). When we are ready to learn, to follow in obedience, to be discerning in our own lives concerning sin of any kind, then we will read it, study it, memorize it, fall in love with it, and find ourselves desperate without it. Are you there? You can be today. All you have to do is open it up and allow Him to speak to you. Start with Romans 12, then go to 1 john. Read John 10 to hear Jesus’ own words.
Bruce Wilkinson also says this:
“Do you want more abundance? More is always possible, but you’ll have to do something opposite of what you’re currently doing. You’ll have to cooperate with God’s ways and respond in obedience and trust.”
C.S. Lewis said, “God whispers through pleasure but shouts through pain. Sometimes our Father has to shout.” We would do well to begin NOW rather than make the Father shout for us to hear Him. One more quote:
“What percentage of Christians do you think have experienced scourging? It may shock you to read that God scourges “every son.”
Let’s learn those hard lessons BEFORE we take the fall. Solomon promises, “Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is the one who trust in the LORD.” Proverbs 16:20
Abba, You KNOW I need this teaching to be manifest in my own life. May I heed Your voice and stay stuck to Your side, especially when the draw of temptation is at its strongest. Help me to step back, take a walk, pray, and allow You to guide me back to the path of righteousness. It’s where I want to be. Thank You for Your guidance and encouragement! Amen.