Proverbs 1:24-33 (NKJV)
Because I have called and you refused,
I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded,
25 Because you disdained all my counsel,
And would have none of my rebuke,
26 I also will laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when your terror comes,
27 When your terror comes like a storm,
And your destruction comes like a whirlwind,
When distress and anguish come upon you.
28 “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer;
They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me.
29 Because they hated knowledge
And did not choose the fear of the Lord,
30 They would have none of my counsel
And despised my every rebuke.
31 Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way,
And be filled to the full with their own fancies.
32 For the turning away of the simple will slay them,
And the complacency of fools will destroy them;
33 But whoever listens to me will dwell safely,
And will be secure, without fear of evil.”
I was enjoying a few abundantly spirit filled weeks. I felt that I was hearing from God, His desires for me, His closeness, His direction and I was following. I was feeling pretty good about myself. Proud, purposed, untouchable.
This week, I feel further from Him than I have for quite sometime. I have allowed myself to give in to selfishness, wrath, bitterness, self service, rudeness, envy, spite, blind ignorance, pride and a host of other un-Christlike behaviors. As a result, I have hurt my wife, the woman I professed to love and promised to cherish, the woman Paul tells me in Ephesians that I am to love as myself. My behavior demonstrated anything but. Consequently, I drew a curtain between Jesus’ heart and mine. I couldn’t hear Him. I couldn’t feel Him, at least not how I should. I know He was there, pulling, pleading, rebuking, but my hardened heart and stiff neck put up the hand and said, “nope, not going to hear it! I’m rightly justified in my feelings on this matter!”
How does one go from feeling like God’s hand is on them, His light guiding him, and he is being profitably used for His kingdom, to being that jerk?! Simple… satan.
Satan is constantly on the prowl and when we feel at our best, our strongest, our pride and vanity erodes our guard and, with precision, he aims and fires.
When we get to thinking too highly of ourselves, our view of the Lord begins to blur. We think, “I got this!” It becomes about me, my and I, instead of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. My friend and men’s group confidant, Mike Wilson, frequently says, “it’s not about you!” That, my friends, is pure TRUTH! It is not about me. I have done nothing and nor could I do anything. When my focus wanders from Jesus, even for a moment, when I give too high regard to myself, my “accomplishments” and my feelings, I have pulled the sentries from the watch tower and opened the door for the enemy to waltz right in. The enemy is a roaring lion, stalking about, cunning far beyond our imagination, coming to kill, steal and destroy. Alone, under our own imagined greatness, we don’t equate to a fleck of dander flicked from his shoulder.
In Ephesians 6:10-20, Paul instructs us in the need for vigilance, to put on the whole armor of God. That is our only defense. When our guard is allowed to drop, we hurt those around us. I have hurt, deeply, my wife, for no other reason but to satisfy my own self-righteous arrogance. We damage our witness to those near us and see us as representatives of Jesus Christ. Most importantly, we fracture our relationship with Jesus. It is a terrible thing, to be in Christ and then find yourself utterly cut off from His presence.
Fortunately, though we certainly aren’t worthy of it, He is right there, with love unimaginable, His grace never ending, with His full on never waning desire to pull us back into His fold. The truth of this then compels us to be the same. We must be right there, pouring out the love that He sent through His Holy Spirit, with an unwavering desire to pull those we’ve hurt or have hurt us back in. We must plead with Him for wisdom, understanding, grace and compassion, restore the sentries to their post so that He can drive the enemy from us. Only then can we hope to be restored to the peace, love and hope that only He can provide. Have a blessed weekend.
In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,