Then he said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here.” Exodus 33:15
Success in the world's eyes is not a sign of God's blessing. It may, in fact, indicate that you have chosen a substitute for intimate fellowship with God. Would you be satisfied to have success, power, and wealth, but not a relationship with God? Do you value God's presence in your life more than the greatest achievements you could experience in the world?
Blackaby asked some interesting questions this morning. How would you answer them?
To be reading this, this morning, is interesting to me because of a few of my thoughts of late.
In 5 months my 'career' has gone directions that, had you told me 5 years ago, I would have laughed. 5 years ago my life was being redefined.
Having had a nervous breakdown in October of 2013, I took the next 3 months to learn what it was to be me. Began what became a series of new jobs.
Many I knew didn't understand what I was going through and made rather discouraging comments concerning it. People that I had been going to church with.
Looking back, it sort of reminds me of Job's wife, her reaction to what befell Job. The reactions of his so-called friends.
I didn't understand it at the time, but I was getting what I had prayed for. I desired to go back to school. I couldn't afford it. Nobody can afford a college of any kind.
So God used what Satan was doing to me and turned it around for my good. I had left that last day in October of 2013 never believing that I would ever set foot in Honeywell again. That those who were running the place had destroyed all that we who had been there for so long had created. People who had pride in what they did were being driven out. People who had become engineers due to years of perfecting their art at a work bench.
At the time the management there just never understood what kind of place that Sensotec had been. It's uniqueness.
But that's just what tore at my heart in October of 2013. I couldn't do it anymore. Couldn't watch what was a very big success be shredded. So God had mercy on me and moved me on. I had told people for years that I stay where I am until God makes it so that I cannot stay.
I said earlier that I had wanted to go back to school. It was very clear to me that at Honeywell I had hit a wall. There was no help in getting over that wall.
In the years that followed, I learned quite a bit at several companies. Paid learning without the student loans. All the while, unknown to me, what Moses said in that opening verse was me. I go where God wants me. This life is not my own. I was bought with a price. The blood of Jesus Christ.
Temptation is always at the door. Interesting to consider, who is the door?
Jesus is the Good Shepherd. If you look up what a shepherd did. The sheep were protected in a few ways. The rod and staff of the shepherd. The pen of whatever he or she could use to contain the sheep. The door was the shepherd.
Danger had to get through that shepherd.
So yes temptation is at the door. It can only get let in or kept out by way of the consent of the Shepherd.
Temptation concerning what, you ask?
It's interesting that my recent thoughts were the same as today's reading of Blackaby's. Am I now finally successful? Do I dwell on that fact with pride?
How I react to that type of temptation can set the course of the rudder of my near future.
I certainly see it for what it is.
I am where I am because of Jesus.
Spiritually first and physically second.
I had said in 2013 that the absolutely only way I could ever return to Honeywell is if God would take care of specific people.
To my mind that was the same as standing at the foot of the Appalachian mountains. The mountains were huge. Immovable. The culture destroyed.
So what did Jesus say? If you have faith as a mustard seed you could say to this mountain 'be cast into the sea' and it would obey you. Mark 11:23.
From my point of view today. I am standing on on the other side of that immovable wall of 2013. That Appalachian mountain range has been ripped up and cast aside. Those people are gone. That culture is being reborn.
So where does this fit into temptation?
It would be easy to look back on recent days with selfish pride and look at MY accomplishments. What I did.
I do not want those feelings at all. I stand because God stood me up. I walk because He healed me. I see because He gave me sight. I hear because He restores.
I am who I am today because of Jesus.
I have no ambitions concerning my career path and that's ok. It's ok because I am an Ambassador for Christ, wherever my hands are put to work. THAT is my job.
It's not what I accomplish. It's what people think of Christ after they see me.
I may be here till Christ returns, or He may have other plans.
I enjoy what I do again, but now I do it for different reasons. My mission field is now Honeywell. I have people to pray for.
People to be the light of Christ for.
My responsibility is to do the best that I can for my God. Colossians 3:23-24.
Temptation will not just run away because the Shepherd uses His staff or rod. It will be silent for a time then attempt to rear its ugly head again.
Remember Jesus was tempted in all things by Satan.
A well known military phrase is: know your enemy.
How well do you know Satan? Not from the perspective of any form of anything that is admirable or desirable. But from the perspective of knowing his limitations.
He is a fallen angel. A created being.
He wants God's Throne.
He cannot read minds of believers.
He cannot possess believers.
He has to submit to Christ.
He had to show up Daily in Heaven to give an account of his whereabouts.
He CAN mess with the minds of unbelievers.
He can and does possess people.
His minions can and do possess people.
His aim is to destroy all that the Father cherishes.
He wants to prove any part of the Bible as false.
He wants to turn believers to a life of ease to keep them ineffective for Christ.
He wants to tempt believers to think of themselves before others. So that the cause of Christ is diminished.
He wants believers to believe lies about themselves. That they are ignored. That the people in their lives really don't care. That they are this or that. Anything to keep them discouraged.
He cannot attack a believer without permission.
He cannot do anything to any believers apart from the will of God.
He murders children because God cherishes them.
He destroys families because God created them.
He attacks even the very essence of what it means to be male and female.
So how much of that did you know?
My hope is in My Savior.
A song came out last year called "My Living Hope". Listen to it. Jesus is my living hope. I may trip and fall because, like Peter, I took my eyes off Jesus for a moment, but He picks me up. Cleans me off and we are back at it again.
I tell you this now. I am only where I am because of my Savior, Jesus Christ.
I share what I do out of obedience.
I do what I do at work out of obedience.
Any accolades that are offered to me...go to Jesus. This is His Plan for me being played out.
So look over those questions. Look at your life. Would you go anywhere without God's being with you? Have you?
Turn around and go back. The temptation is great to live for yourself. To live at ease. To spend your time and money on yourself. To ignore His calling for your life.
Go back. He is waiting.