Today I couldn’t help but think about God’s patience, long suffering and coming judgement. This morning while I was changing Cole’s diaper, Madeline thought it would be an appropriate time to disobey mommy and throw books behind the couch. At the time I was in no position to stop what I was doing with Cole so I asked Madeline if she was obeying or disobeying and what the instruction was. Very casually she responded, “disobey, Madeline no throw books in tunnel” (the space behind the couch is a very mysterious and tempting tunnel) I then asked her what the consequence would be for her disobedience and she responded in stride. I had to smile at her response as she continued to go about the very task that she KNEW was heaping judgement and discipline on herself. As her mother I was completely aware of what she was doing, even though I didn’t jump up and respond right away. I gave her the instruction again, desiring for her to hear my voice and turn to do the right thing. I wanted her to be sensitive and keenly aware of what I was kindly warning her of! She knew the right thing to do but her sinful desire ruled over her. When I was finished getting Cole all clean, Madeline was my next order of business.
Her immature response reminded me of my foolish heart. God’s Word is very clear about what He commands from His people. The instruction is clear and the consequence is sure. It is not uncommon for me to continue in my sinful habits and patterns, fully aware of what God’s Word says about it and knowing what the consequence is. I can recite the verse in my head while I am engaging in my sinful behavior. Maybe part of me thinks that I can get away with it? Maybe God just didn’t see it? He hasn’t struck me down yet…so what is one more time? Maybe I know that God is gracious and merciful so He will just overlook it? What wicked and horrible responses to my Heavenly Father and Reigning King! When God says something, He is serious about it and although he is not bringing judgement right now, it surely is coming and I will be held accountable for everything I have ever done. The bible says in Luke 4:12, quoting Deuteronomy, “You shall not put the Lord your God To Test”. Just like Madeline was testing me to see if I would really follow through, I am often casual to the prompting of the Holy Spirit in my life.
When I was talking to Madeline, my biggest desire was for her to turn to obedience! How much more does the Lord desire repentance from me. When I know the right thing to do and when I sense the conviction of the Holy Spirit I must respond all the way right away and with a happy heart. I need to stop what I am doing and TURN to repentance and right relationship with Christ right away. I must remember the words of Romans 13:1-5, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.” I should be concerned if my heart is completely callused to God’s Truth and content with lingering and blatant sin that has gone without repentance. If God’s Word is just an unfamiliar suggestion, that is a red flag. The sheep know their father’s voice. If I am not laboring to eradicate sin in my life; it is ruling over me and is my master. I MUST FIGHT SIN. EVERYDAY. EVERY HOUR. EVERY MOMENT. Because I desire God’s glory more than my own comfort.
Here are some other scriptures talking about my heart to encourage and challenge my soul:
Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance”
James 4:17 says, “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”
1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness”
My heart needs to be sensitive and moldable. My ears need to be turned to my father. My feet must run to the Truth. My brain must be tuned to Grace. My mouth must sing His Praise. My eternity depends on it. Christ must reign superior to my selfish and sinful desires. Even if it feels good. Even if it is a habit. Even if it is cheaper. Even if that is all you know. Even if it seems grown up. Even if it is permitted by an authority but contrary to God’s Word. Our hearts are accountable to God. It is between me and God alone. So how is this done?
-Be in God’s Word and grow in your knowledge of Him. Not just spiritual books or devotionals, just good ol’ scripture, crack open the Word and read it baby.
-Memorize scripture so you can stand firm.
-Sing spiritual songs of worship to keep your mind focused on truth.
-Watch out for bad company who will quickly corrupt good morals.
-Pray and plead with the Lord to change your heart and ask Him what you should be doing. Ask the Lord to search your heart and see if there is any unrighteous way in you.
-Take action when the Holy Spirit reveals sin to you. Move quickly!
– Be in Church, like physically get your body into church every Sunday. Sit under good teaching that is STRAIGHT from the bible, please let it be more than a 15 minute sermon.
-Practice regular repentance, confession and accountability. Included should be fasting, tithing and communion from a pure heart and in a biblical way.
-Serve serve serve. Mostly at your local church, but also those around you, not just as good deeds but in a biblical and Christ honoring way.
-PRAISE THE LORD AND GIVE THANKS TO HIM. He is good and faithful and oh so kind.
Go in peace and worship God with your whole heart.