Thursday, October 3, 2019

Struggling With A Divided Heart

Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” …. Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’  ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions..” – Matthew 19:16, 18-22

The young man was certain that what he was doing good things … things pleasing to God. He was doing enough to be welcomed by God into heaven. But Jesus pointed out that the greatest commandment is to love God with everything.  The man didn’t – even though he did good things, he loved, trusted, desired  money and possessions more than God.  He was not willing to give them up – even for eternal life.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9

Before we shake our heads in dismay, I want to caution you that all of us struggle with divided hearts from time to time. When we allow other devotions to captivate us, we are drawn away from the One who deserves all of our devotion.  Perhaps it is something that your culture or your common sense – says is admirable – responsible – praise worthy. But God says, “Let it go and obey my call, my leading.”  Perhaps obeying God will take you to a place where you have less than you think you need to be happy – content – satisfied. Your desire for those things might cause you to say “no” to God and go away sad.  It is not because we don’t know what is the right to do, it is that we choose what is not right to do, even if what we choose is not bad it itself. Choosing anything that is contrary to the will of God is sin.

I think we have all been there. When, like the young man, we are faced with the dilemma or is it a tri-lemma – trust God or trust ourselves or the things of this world – we are faced with a crisis of belief.  The choice we make will expose where our trust is.

"Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we trust in the name of the Lord our God." – Psalm 20:7

It is a very real struggle.  We know in our hearts what we should do. Most, if not all, of us have faced the choice and have chosen poorly. It is not that our choosing somehow limits God. No, but it does mean that we missed the best that God has for us.  Are you faced with a choice – a decision – something that might threaten your comfort – financial stability or future? Are you willing to trust God and obey Him?  Dr. Henry Blackaby, in Experiencing God, said that our problem is not in knowing if God has spoken to us.  The problem is in obeying what He “has” said.

Are you struggling with a decision.  Perhaps you know what God has said – but right at this moment you lack the faith to obey.  Been there – done that. This faith life is a day by day – moment by moment existence.  Seek godly counsel. Talk to someone you trust – someone who is a Paul, a mentor, to you. Of course pray and read the Word of God. As you read, listen for the Spirit’s voice. If you are married – speak to your spouse. Assuming they are a Christian as well, that you are evenly yoked – I believe that the Spirit of God will speak to both the husband and the wife about matters of the Spirit.

How can two walk together unless they be agreed.” – Amos 3:3

God asks you to go places and do things that will stretch your faith. I am reminded of a quote from the Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.

“Aslan is a lion - the Lion, the great Lion." "Ooh" said Susan. "I'd thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion"..."Safe?" said Mr. Beaver ..."Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you.”  ― C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

What are you waiting for?

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