The Bible tells us to forget those things which are behind and press on toward those things which are before. That has always been a struggle for me. My mind often drifts back to clips from scenes long past. To memories good and bad. To both successes and failures.
I have to thank God for His patience with me over the years. Because I have often gone off on tangents that He was not leading me toward. You could not have convinced me of such at the time, however. I was determined to follow a course of action or “feeling” at all cost.
Unfortunately, there are many Christians that suffer from this “disease”. It is called “will worship”. I spoke of it in an earlier post. But I think it will be of some value to look at it again.
Once when I was at Bible college, I had this idea that the phrase, “in full assurance of faith” (Hebrews 10:22), had a different meaning than I see it has now. Back then, it became a terrible burden for me to seek this “full assurance” in the form of a feeling that God would give me when I had done enough in search of His will. Specifically in the area of prayer.
Worshipping Our Own Will Power
So, going down this rabbit trail, I would go to the Mission Prayer meetings after dinner. And would be there till the bell called us to get back to the dorms for lights out. (Yes, this was a strict school.) I would pray way beyond the normal few minutes for missionaries and not head back to do my necessary studying for the night. In all honesty, it was terrible. I was waiting for the Lord to give me peace that I had prayed enough.
Satan had put me into bondage to my own willingness to sacrifice my personal time, meals, study time, and whatever else I felt was necessary in search of this “feeling” from God. I will spare you additional gory details except to say that one can do all kinds of dumb stuff in search of God’s approval.
The problem, as I see it, is that churches teach a lot of stuff they should not teach. Stuff they may not even realize is unscriptural. So much is just handed down as tradition and has little to do with the Bible. And sometimes one might hear of a preacher on some radio station having his people do all kinds of wild stuff because of some passage in the Bible taken out of context.
Sometimes a pastor likes to pick and choose Old Testament Levitical laws and apply them to the church today. He imagines himself a New Testament prophet while following a Law that Christ has already fulfilled. Eat this, don’t eat that, wear this, don’t wear that, listen to this, watch that. Now some of those things are common sense. But some are based on God’s Spirit working in our own lives and bringing us into maturity in His time and His way. By the “easy yoke” and the “easy burden” Christ calls us to bear. Not put upon us by some religious movement, church or leader.
Christ Has Made Us Free
And the challenge almost always comes to us sounding like, “Are you willing to be a fool for Jesus?”
Well, yes, I am. But the problem is, I want to be sure that He is leading me and not someone else. I don’t want to embarrass the Lord by my stupidity. And that requires miraculous help every day.
The real point here is that we must guard against those evil spirits that would put us in bondage. Our guide must be the Lord, by His Spirit, according to His Word. Our feelings are not dependable. They never have been. A shift of the wind and our moods can change.
We must walk by faith, not by sight. If we are going to be “fools”, then let’s not be such by our own stupid hands. In a true sense, we are a “peculiar” and “called out” people. The world will be “offended” by us. But we don’t have to be the cause of that ourselves.
I hope this helps someone out there who is especially susceptible to looking for a sign or a feeling. Or who is constantly trying to prove to Christ how much you love Him.
He has freed us from bondage so that we may rest in Him.
. . . in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength . . . (Isaiah 30:15)