Friday, December 30, 2005

My Utmost - Dec. 29

December 29, 2005

Deserter or Disciple?
“From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more” (John 6:66).

When God, by His Spirit through His Word, gives you a clear vision of His will, you must “walk in the light” of that vision (1 John 1:7). Even though your mind and soul may be thrilled by it, if you don’t “walk in the light” of it you will sink to a level of bondage never envisioned by our Lord. Mentally disobeying the “heavenly vision” (Acts 26:19) will make you a slave to ideas and views that are completely foreign to Jesus Christ.

I continue to be amazed at how timely each of these devotions is. So far, everything about this move has been hard. We’ve wondered if that meant that we were doing the wrong thing. Wouldn’t things be easy if we were truly following God? I realize that we were never promised an easy life. We are promised that abundant life is available, but, again, abundance doesn’t mean that things are easy. These kinds of views cause us to be disobedient, and often cause us to “sink to a level of bondage never envisioned by our Lord”. We actually cause things to become more difficult this way, and this is a difficulty that Jesus never had.

Don’t look at someone else and say, “Well, if he can have those views and prosper, why can’t I?” You have to “walk in the light” of the vision that has been given to you. Don’t compare yourself with others or judge them—that is between God and them. When you find that one of your favorite and strongly held views clashes with the “heavenly vision,” do not begin to debate it. If you do, a sense of property and personal right will emerge in you—things on which Jesus placed no value. He was against these things as being the root of everything foreign to Himself—“… for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Luke 12:15). If we don’t see and understand this, it is because we are ignoring the underlying principles of our Lord’s teaching.

I confess that we’ve asked questions such as these more than a few times. It’s so tempting to compare ourselves with others, or to compare the way God works with others to the way God works with us.

Our tendency is to lie back and bask in the memory of the wonderful experience we had when God revealed His will to us. But if a New Testament standard is revealed to us by the light of God, and we don’t try to measure up, or even feel inclined to do so, then we begin to backslide. It means your conscience does not respond to the truth. You can never be the same after the unveiling of a truth. That moment marks you as one who either continues on with even more devotion as a disciple of Jesus Christ, or as one who turns to go back as a deserter.

It’s also very tempting to compare the way that God has worked with us in the past to the way He is working with us today. Because God is “handling” us in a different fashion, we fail to recognize His standard, and thus we “don’t try to measure up.” Thus we backslide.

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