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Posts Tagged ‘His way’

“Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven.” Ps 119:89

“But instead warn (admonish, urge, and encourage) one another every day, as long as it is called Today, that none of you may be hardened [into settled rebellion] by the deceitfulness of sin [by the fraudulence, the stratagem, the trickery which the delusive glamour of his sin may play on him].” Heb3:13 AMP

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Settled into rebellion!  That was the problem with King Saul.  To have a heart full of rebellion and stubbornness is one thing…

To have a heart settled in that condition is quite another thing… and is a condition where repentance will not move your heart any longer.

You have chosen a particular way, or course, or attitude, or end goal over and over.  To have that end, that result which has been elusive has become the most important thing.  Your hands have gripped it so hard in your posture, you are not going to let go now.

In fact, the enemy has campaigned in your thinking, that your strategy to persist and hold on is actually an honorable thing.  But in truth, when the thing you pursue is out of the will of God what you are persisting in is stubbornness and rebellion.

King Saul was told, “…rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as idolatry…” 1Sam 15:23.  We are generally familiar with the whole witchcraft part of that verse, but we also often fail to apprehend the idolatry part. Idolatry – the deifying of self, making yourself your own God.

This is what happens when we won’t give over our opinions, plans, sense of correctness, desires or goals, or hungers, or sins over to God.  They begin to rule over us, and we become deceived…

James 1:22 talks about this in terms of obeying the Lord’s message, not being merely a listener – but being a doer as well. To be only a listener, as King Saul was, means you betray yourself into deception by reasoning contrary to the Truth.  King Saul reasoned contrary to the Truth.

Truth said: “Kill all the Amalekites, all their people, herds, even children and babies.”

Saul said, “I am saving the best for a sacrifice to the Lord (and I have the support of the people).”

This is very dangerous to be so self-assured.  But it is fatal in the worst sense to be “settled’ in this self-assuredness!!!

It means you have chosen to be settled against God!

Settledness is also often rendered as hardened in the Bible.  King Saul had allowed and chosen to become hardened in his opinions that were adversarial to God’s.  This was to his detriment and ultimate destruction. But it also the same for anyone who persists in their own course.

Deut 10:16 says, circumcise the foreskin of your minds and hearts and no longer be stubborn or hardened.

Proverbs 28:14 says, blessed is the man who reverently fears the Lord but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.

Proverbs 29:1 says, he who being often reproved hardens his neck shall suddenly be destroyed – and that without remedy.

To be settled is important, but to be settled like the word of God which is settled in heaven is the wise course. It is the course of Life abundant. To be settled along these lines means you are in submission and aligned in obedience to what the word says and required. You are not in rebellion or stubbornness opposing what it requires. Especially not opposing what it instructs as the way to believe and think.

You see, before King Saul ever disobeyed in his conduct, he had already entertained disobedience in his heart.  It was that disobedience that he justified over and over, that caused him to become settled in rebellion and stubbornness.

How about you?

Do you recognize the imprints of stubbornness and idolatry in your own heart? Is there something you are wrestling with God about, determined to have your own way no matter what the cost?  Maybe it is a relationship that you are stubbornly pursuing, even to your own harm?  Or is it a habit that you know you should give up?  This day, give that thing over to the Lord! Do not continue another day into the path of becoming settled in rebellion!!! Turn today!

In the most graphic terms, fighting for our way is like the dog who returns to his vomit. Is that what you want to end up with? Lay it before Him now.  Do it.  Ask Him to help you repent, and to be settled like the word rather than be settled into stubbornness and rebellion.

I pray you do it today…

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Day Forty-Nine

 What will you foster? Character or Understanding

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Mt 6:33 (ESV)

Are you someone who believes the events of life are there to teach you something– to increase your understanding so that you are ever becoming more skilled in navigating life?  I would suggest to you quite the opposite – I believe events are actually to build your character in Christ, not your natural understanding, and that this is a much more profitable course.

Look for a moment at those who are skeptics before God.  They think: “I will believe when I see.”  Or, “I will obey when I understand.”  Like Job they desire an audience with God so He can receive their perspective on things.  They want to weigh in on the events and their impact, thinking that God really needs their input.  Yet more than understanding, God desires obedience; more than understanding, He desires trust.  The shaping and renovation taking place in any life is not something we can oversee.  We do not have the right perspective or wisdom for it.  We are quite literally – clueless!

We must come to the place of trusting God – and committing this process to Him, even when we don’t understand what is happening.  He is able to keep all that is committed to Him! Like going to a dentist and trusting his skill – we don’t give him instruction, we don’t review his work plan or tell him how long he can drill – rather we sit in the chair quietly, sometimes white-knuckled, counting the time waiting for the work to end.  God is infinitely more trust-worthy than any dentist, more skilled than any practitioner – so why do we take this consumer approach with God?

Simply, we don’t have the big picture – yet we want control.  Like an airplane pilot who (given no visibility) should fly IFR but doesn’t  – we trust our instincts and skills more than the IFR readings.  We believe we know our orientation.  We have more confidence in our abilities than in His.  Because of this confidence in ourselves, we approach life events believing if we only learn enough we will succeed.  If life is really only about learning more — we can do that and navigate it more successfully.  We can do it our way.

But life does not exist simply as an experiment to provide useful teaching.  It exists to help us see that we need God in our lives. It clarifies over and over our need to be dependent on Him, and to be more like Him.  The Lord fashions life and its events so that we will grow in Christlikeness.  Growing in Christlikeness will get us farther and higher than any amount of personal understanding.   His ways are higher than ours, and His thoughts are too, but only by coming into greater Christlikeness can we even approach knowing His ways, and sometimes understanding them.

But there is no shortcut to this process, no way to jump ahead with a workaround.  Our character must be expanded in Christ, our mind renewed by the Word, and our trust in the Lord made unshakable.  Then we can begin to have His perspective and process what is really going on. It is when we fully seek His Kingdom (His rule in our hearts and minds) and His righteousness (His way of being and then doing) that we enter into Truth, and begin knowing the truth.  Only when we have Christ living in us does true learning and understanding actually occur.

Life, then, is not about garnering more facts, more information, and adapting accordingly, or leveraging it with our rapier-sharp intellect.  Rather, it is coming to know the One Who is eternal life, growing in Him and His character and having His overcoming life fill us abundantly, and sharing that.

In the final shakedown, we will either strive on our own to become better, or receive the One Who truly is better.  May it be said, “We did it His way.”

 

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