Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. Colossians 2:8
There is a subtle temptation that encourages Christians to be “practical” and to “get results,” believing “the end justifies the means.” Don’t be led away by man's reasoning. An examination of God's Word shows that the means are sometimes even more important than the results. The world tries to convince you that as long as you can accomplish something for the kingdom of God, that's all that matters. For example, Ananias and Sapphira gave an offering to their church, which was a good thing, but they did it deceitfully. God judged them immediately, not for what they did, but for how they did it (Acts 5:1–11). Satan tried to trap Jesus with this same temptation. Satan did not question the worthiness of Jesus’ task, but simply offered “practical” solutions to accomplish Jesus’ goal more quickly and at lesser cost. God's ways are not like man's ways. “Efficiency” from man's perspective is not prized by God. It did not seem efficient to have the children of Israel march around Jericho thirteen times and then blow their trumpets, but it brought the walls down (Josh. 6). It did not appear wise to select the youngest of Jesse's sons to become the next king, but God saw a man after His own heart (1 Sam. 16:11). At first glance, it does not seem logical for Jesus to have picked the twelve disciples He did, yet through them God dramatically affected their world. It is never wise to attempt to do God's work in man's way. It is an age-old temptation that seems to make sense on the surface but often is at variance with the purposes of God. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day
Oh this is a painful part of my life.
Oh how, if ever I could, that I would go back in time to have an intense talk with myself about not getting ahead of Jesus in my life.
It's taken decades to get past my past failures in getting ahead of Jesus.
It's taken decades to get past the fears, the sorrows, the grief, that resulted from feeling so far from God.
I still, to this day, wonder how different my life would be if I hadn't done what I have done in my life that in all reality was giving in to sin.
I had gotten what I thought was insight from God as to my future.
Had thought that I understood completely and ran off to do what I understood.
I didn't see a thing correctly. Other than to realize too little too late that I was in over my head in situations that bother me to this day. Satan loves to throw those days in my face almost daily.
You too might be living with profound fear or regret. In this world we now find just about everyone wearing physical masks. I have joked with coworkers that these are also a way to cover up facial expressions that would certainly get me into trouble.
Shock, dismay, all kinds of emotions people are being kept from seeing.
Even before these masks, we all are guilty of hiding what we think. Even before all this we have carried the burden of failure as well as success.
I would easily trade all my worldly successes in this life for more obedience to God when I knowingly failed to do so.
There are always consequences to consider. Even if it's not in my lifetime there are consequences to my actions. Either in the physical world or the Spiritual world.
Most just don't go for a walk at night in the city. Mainly because it's not safe. Animals or people could be lurking. Intent on doing harm or if an animal, by its wild nature to do what it deems as self preservation.
People are more aware and leary of those things and situations than the dangers within their own minds and hearts.
I speak from experience when I say that I know, unfortunately, the extreme dangers we can get into when left to our own thoughts and desires. Sin doesn't take a holiday. Sin doesn't just jump out in front of you and shout "I'm here!" Sin is cunning, crafty, sleazy, sly, its an expert at telling us what we think we want to hear. To get us to see a twisted truth that isn't real. Satan often gets credit for what we have done to ourselves.
While I know in my heart of heart that Jesus has indeed forgiven me, that my sins have been cast as far as the east is from the west, my memories plague me.
I am sure they can with you as well.
Setting is such a word to remember. Setting isn't just something you do on a dryer. Setting is a word to describe the placing of someone or something in a particular place.
Setting your eyes on something means to focus specifically on it. Setting your thoughts on something means to dwell upon it.
I can choose to look at or dwell upon the sins of my past and present, or to focus and look to what Jesus did to take them away. To be intentional on looking at what He wants me to be intentional about. To set my mind on things above not on the things down here. That's what Scripture says that we ought to be doing.
Sin can be very powerful. But even so it was defeated at the cross by Jesus Christ. Scripture says that in every way He was tempted but did not give in. He knows every kind of thought an emotion we could ever experience. Scripture says that we who are in Christ do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with us.
The way to begin to move past our failures is to set our minds on things above. On Jesus, His success at the cross. His success at rising from the dead. His sitting at the right hand of God the Father.
His saying "It is FINISHED!". I saw a meme the other day that said something about that. He did not say "I am FINISHED!" He said "It is FINISHED!". What Jesus did was completely done. No more needed to be done to defeat sin, death and the grave. He accomplished what no man or woman could do or ever would do to deal with the sins of mankind.
You keep looking at you and not at Jesus, you will inevitably be seeing your imperfections. You will see your failures. You will be tempted to just give up. I know. I did. Just as I can vividly remember that Sunday that I made a public confession of my faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone for Salvation, I remember vividly my colossal failures piling up so high that I thought I was drowning. I who had been saved by grace through faith, had heaped up so much intense sinful thoughts and actions, that I was beginning to believe that God had indeed forsaken me. I was ready to commit suicide. That day is another that I remember vividly. It was the turning point in my life to bring me along the road to where I am today.
You cannot always see what's right in front of you. I certainly didn't. I saw no wisdom in just waiting on the plan of God for me and I let go of His hand and rushed in. All full of excitement but no power and protection from the world I was jumping into.
You can add and will be deceived by sin.
You can and will think your wants, and desires, are important to you. You will think you see what's best and run after it.
The Disciples were often reigned in from doing that very thing. If the phrase existed back then, I am sure Jesus would have used it a lot. That phrase being "Now, hold your horses!"
We cannot see until we are willing to.
If we see things as Jesus does we see things way differently than the world does.
We must set our minds on things above. Things that have to do with what's important to Jesus, not necessarily what's important to us.
The very important thing is to let God have a firm hold of your hands. Not you holding His. If it's you then you would be able to let go. If it's Him, there's no way for Him to let go.
We have to ask, as the blind men that Jesus healed, to have our eyes opened. That we want to be healed, to have our sight restored.
Try praying that today. Stop living for yourself for a moment and pray that kind of prayer. See what happens next. You may indeed have to give up your wants and desires, but you will be shown why Jesus thinks that's important in the here and now. Try it. You won't regret it.
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