Monday, January 16, 2017

When Good Instruction Turns to Humble Pie

If you've been following along, you know that we just finished a series on how to know the will of God.  I, for one, was humbled by the things God was teaching me, but I felt I needed to share with you something that happened after the fact.  This is concerning the first point we discussed which was that if we want God's direction on a particular situation, we need to make sure we're already doing what He's asked us to do.

I will freely admit to you that two of the main areas I've been asking for guidance is my health and my spiritual life.  Healthwise, I am seeking answers to my joint issues and trying to find ways to have more energy and stamina throughout the day.  (If you're not aware, constant pain is a significant energy drain!)  Spiritually, I simply long to know God more.  I want to make sure that every step I take is in His perfect will, so I'm always seeking guidance in that area.

Okay, now for the terrible admission.  When I was considering point one, I was pretty proud of myself, though I didn't really think of it as pride at that point in time.  Healthwise, I felt I was doing everything right.  I'm eating right.  I'm exercising.  I'm seeing the chiropractor regularly.  I've even been working to manage my stress.  Yep, I'm following God's directions there.  My inner conversation regarding my spiritual life went the same way.  I spend daily time with God.  I read my Bible and pray regularly.  I attend church pretty much every time the doors are open.  Yes, as I completed my mental checklist, I, once again, felt like I was doing everything God required of me.

Later on in the week, as I was doing my devotional reading, the Lord struck me with a thought.  In the blink of an eye, He conveyed to me that if I want His guidance in life, I need to make sure I'm obeying His will in regards to all areas of my life, not just the ones for which I'm currently seeking answers.  I wanted to argue that I didn't understand, but before I could, He convicted my heart about some of the things I've been watching on television.

Jason and I are not big television watchers.  In fact, we don't even have it set up to where we can watch regular tv.  No antenna.  No satellite.  No cable.  We have Netflix and Hulu, which give us more than enough things to watch.  Anyway, several years ago, the Lord convicted my heart about a particular sitcom we were watching.  It wasn't that the show was bad, but there was a lot of loose living going on, and overall, the show did not, in any way, promote good values.  In obedience to the Lord, I discussed my feelings with Jason, and we stopped watching the show.

A few years later, I realized that we were watching new sitcoms, but they had the same issues like the one God had convicted me about.  Jason and I discussed it, but we came to the conclusion that it was okay because we weren't really agreeing that the lifestyles were right, and it wasn't the sin we were laughing at.  It was other parts of the show that made it humorous.  Still, there were certain times I would cringe at something that was said or done in the series.

As I sat on my couch doing my devotions a few days ago, I heard the Spirit whisper to me, "How many times have I asked you to give up those shows?  Why are you still watching them?"  Again, I was ready to argue, to defend myself with the crafty logic that Jason and I had earlier discussed, but before I could say anything, the Lord brought a verse to my mind.  First Corinthians 10:31 says, Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.  On the heels of that, God left me with one final question:  "Can you honestly say that what you're watching brings glory to God?"  Ouch!

I talked things over with Jason that night and explained why I didn't want to watch those particular sitcoms anymore.  We both agreed that it would be best if we spent our time in other ways, or at the very least, watching things that were pleasing to the Lord.  Suddenly, I feel free!  I can't explain it.  I had no idea that I was being held captive by my own disobedience, but now I see it so clearly.

You're probably wondering if God has now answered all my questions and shown me the answers I've been seeking.  No, not yet, but at least I know I've removed an obstacle that was probably preventing some blessings and was definitely harming my relationship with God.  So, why did I tell you all of this?  I just wanted to encourage you to be open to God's voice and His conviction.  There may be hidden sin in your life that you're not even aware of.  When going through your mental checklist of whether or not you're following God's will, be sure to check all areas of your life, not just the ones in which you're seeking answers.  Then, when God reveals something to you, be ready and willing to confess it and get it right.  I promise you'll be glad you did!
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