Monday, August 11, 2014

Have We Been Left To Our Own Devices?

There are times I get the impression most Christians feel they have been handed an assignment and have been sent out from the presence of Yahweh to complete it. We have this "go it alone" mentality where we think we have to do whatever we think is best to survive because no one else is going to help us. We struggle over decisions, direction, actions to take, words to speak, and we stress ourselves out. But we are never alone, and we have not been sent out on our own. In fact, the promise of Jesus is just the opposite.

Jesus promised that he would be with us to the end of the age. Via the Holy Spirit, Jesus is constantly present, giving us strength, hope, peace, instruction and direction. From him we receive the power and ability to do everything he has given us to do. If we ask for counsel he gives it. That is the part we miss out on all the time. Instead, we come up with our own plans and ask him to bless them. That is our approach for most of our life, to do what we want and expect Jesus' blessing on it. It gets us into trouble.

A glaring example of this is found in Joshua 9 when a local city decided to deceive Israel into making a treaty with them. The people were smart enough to see what was happening and they did not want to be removed from their land so they made it appear that their envoys had come from a great distance to make the treaty. It was a brilliantly conceived desperate plan and it worked because of one reason:

Then the men of Israel took some of their provisions; but they did not ask counsel of the Lord. (Joshua 9:14)

Israel went by what they could see instead of asking the One who sees everything. If you have never read this incident then I encourage you to do so because it is an example of how we can be tricked into disobeying Yahweh, even when it is our full desire to walk in obedience. We have not been left on our own for a reason: We can't make it on our own. We don't know everything. We can't see everything. We are vulnerable to deception. We need the wisdom, power, and direction of Jesus. Have you never considered what Jesus told his disciples and us:

Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. (Matthew 10:16)

This was delivered during a warning of the persecution we would face because the world hates the righteousness of Jesus Christ Yet, we are messing up because we fail to understand we live in a world that is naturally hostile toward us. This world is under the influence of a false prince and we are here to be the salt and light, but it is a terrible environment in which we are serving. So much tries to distract us from our mission and relationship with Jesus. There is such an incredible influence that tries to cut us off from our only source of everything we need. We must remain aware of this so we will also remember that we aren't in this by ourselves.

Independence from Jesus is the opposite to our goal. We need to let loose whatever we depend on in this world so our dependence on Jesus can grow. He is our source for all things good and he will equip us and instruct us every day of our lives. But we need to remember to ask. Don't forget today to ask.

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