Wednesday, November 18, 2020
Knowing what is right and Doing what is right
Knowing what is right isn't doing what is right
When you chop wood, there is danger with each stroke of your ax. Ecclesiastes 10:9 NLT
Oppressors may get their way with poor and needy people as easily as they can split logs of wood. But they had better be careful—it is a dangerous business. The splintering of trees has often killed woodmen. Jesus is persecuted in every injured saint, and He is strong to avenge His loved ones. To be successful in trampling down the poor and needy is something to fear: even if persecutors find no danger here, there will be great danger hereafter. To cut and split wood is a common, everyday business, and yet it has its dangers. Dear reader, there are also dangers connected with your calling and daily life, things that you should be aware of. I don’t refer to the hazards of flood and field or disease and sudden death, but to perils of a spiritual sort. Your occupation may be as humble as log splitting, yet the devil can tempt you in it. You may be a house cleaner, a farm laborer, or a mechanic, generally protected from temptations to the greatest vices—and yet some secret sin may do you harm. Those who stay at home and avoid mingling with this rough world might still be endangered by their very seclusion. People who think they are safe aren’t safe anywhere. Pride may enter a poor person’s heart; greed may reign in the owner of a simple cottage; sin of all sorts may venture into the quietest homes; and anger, envy, and malice may be prominent in the most rural areas. We may sin even in speaking a few words to an employee; a little purchase at a shop may be the first link in a chain of temptations; merely looking out a window may be the beginning of evil for us. Oh, Lord, how exposed we are! How can we be protected? It is too hard for us to protect ourselves—only you are able to preserve us in such an evil world. Spread your wings over us, and we, like little chicks, will cower underneath and find ourselves safe!
- C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening
There was a quote from a movie "You are going to have to learn the same lesson that I did. There's a difference between knowing the path and walking it."
It matters not, as Spurgeon aptly points out, where you are. You are vulnerable to the silky ravages of sin. Is that even a real description? Yes it is. Silky in that the temptations are never immediately oppressive or aggressive. They are, after all going to be as stones at the head of a river or anywhere downstream that are placed. The point of them being that way is to change you before you know what's happening. Ravages because by the time we know what is going on often it's on the brink of too much to handle. We cry out to God because of the foolishness of ourselves.
We just get in over our heads that quickly.
Taking every thought captive is a constant struggle. There will be times when it is indeed too late. Happens to me a lot. You don't realize until a painful revelation of your mouth that something came out not as you expected.
Busyness is the same thing. As Blackaby says on this too:
It is good to want to serve Christ as an expression of love for what He has done for you. Yet when your activity consumes your time and energies so that you have no time for Him, you have become too busy! You may think, as Martha did, that if you don’t do the work, it won’t get done. That may be true, but Jesus taught that your highest priority must be your relationship with Him. If anything detracts you from that relationship, that activity is not from God. God will not ask you to do something that hinders your relationship with Christ. At times, serving God and carrying out His mission is the best way to know and experience God. At other times, it is more important to sit quietly at His feet and listen to what He is saying. We are not called to continually sit at the feet of Jesus; otherwise our service for Him would cease. Neither are we called to serve Him incessantly, without taking time to find restoration in His presence. Have you been serving God so diligently that you have not had time to spend with Him?
But you don't know what to do? Yes, we all do. We aren't so different from before we came to Christ. Choice was the result of the Cross. Mankind's ability to choose was granted. But, you say those before the Cross couldn't choose! Yes, they could. We don't read of massively unbalanced people in the Old Testament. Scripture says everyone will be without excuse when they stand before Christ. That means they were born, and lived, in a time best suited to give them their choice concerning Jesus.
We all will have excuses. That began with Adam. Ironically that apple didn't fall far from the tree for us as well as him and Eve.
Being careful of what we do is important. Being careful of what we think is even more important. Reading in Ezekiel, chapters 8 to 10. Look at what Ezekiel is shown. Jesus sees everything we do not think He's seeing. Scripture says that before we were born we were seen and known. Scripture says that even in the womb He knew everything we would ever do. Look at the first thing Ezekiel is shown, an idol of jealousy. Then of idolatry. Things that people think nobody else can see or know of what's going on inside the heart, mind and soul.
There's a difference between knowing the path and walking it. There are poems about a road less traveled. We always have roads, plural, in front of us. We choose. We choose the action, the reaction, the emotion, the logic, the reasoning, we choose.
There is only one who can help us, and that is the Holy Spirit. Only through being intentional in our path walking can things be as God intended in the life of the Believer.
Look again at Ezekiel 8 then remember back to the beginning of the 10 Commandments. In order of those Commandments is the order of the offense against Jesus.
Look at your feet. Where are they going? Are they attached to someone who is calling themselves a believer but goes where they want and not where God wants? Are they attached to someone who isn't concerned about the things of God? Doing what's right in their own eyes? Are they attached to someone who is trying to please God? Are they waiting for His prompting for where to go and what to do, as it says in Proverbs? Are the things of the world that fantastic to you that excitement about the things of God take a back seat? A game fires you up, your knowledge of it and the players is flawless, you are siked up at the approach of its start...and your anger kindled when delays happen. Yet in no way are you that way about your relationship with Jesus?
Think about your why. Why do you do each thing that you do in your life.
Now is the time to get your priorities in order. Not after you die. Get rid of the baggage in your life now. Cultivate your relationship with Jesus now. The path of God isn't hard. It's just that you have to be intentional about it. All of us are easily distracted. None of us is patient. Often we pick up the chains He broke because those wrong feelings and actions are at least familiar in a time when patience and silence seem overwhelming.
Pray for me. Pray for yourselves. Paul prayed for you long before you were born or haf the chance to know of the God of the Bible. Those in Heaven pray for us here. They want us to succeed in Christ.
Life isn't going to get easier. It's moving towards the fulfillment of Scripture. As the number and type of excuses wanes we are drawing closer to whomever that last person will be whom will accept Jesus as their Savior. The interesting thing about more and more of the world becoming as one against God it also reduces the number of variables in those people's excuses. They begin sharing the same excuses. Then all that remains is who will be the last one before the Father says "now it's time".
Pray, pray, pray. Get back on your feet when sin causes you to stumble and fall.
Stop looking at the sins of others before you look at your own. As Jesus taught of the splinter in the eye vs the log. So must we be.
Yes it should bother you when you sin. Not you shouldn't wallow in self pity. Get on your feet, ask for forgiveness, get moving.
There's a path before you that leads to Jesus. What are you waiting for?