Where you lead, I will follow…
July 1st, 2019
Just because you followed the Lord’s direction and was obedient to his call, don’t think that he’s bound to put you up in an executive suite at the Hilton.
Learning to yield to the Lord’s direction takes a good deal of effort. There is that carnal nature that we were born with that thrives in our flesh and opposes the Holy Spirit’s influence over our lives.
For I donʼt understand what I am doing. For I do not do what I want – instead, I do what I hate. But if I do what I donʼt want, I agree that the law is good. But now it is no longer me doing it, but sin that lives in me. For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. For I want to do the good, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but I do the very evil I do not want! Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer me doing it but sin that lives in me.
Romans 7:15-20 (NET)
It would seem from the outset that we have the cards stacked against us in the area of obedience. We have these warring members of our body and the conflict is constant. The more we yield to the Spirit the better prepared for the next onslaught, but we can never rest easy assure that we will no longer face temptation.
Temptation is almost as constant as the Spirits residence in us.
The function of the tongue alone is only one element of this behavioral modification that the Holy Spirit is working to accomplish in us daily. So much so, that the scripture says we cannot master the tongue.
For every kind of animal, bird, reptile, and sea creature is subdued and has been subdued by humankind. But no human being can subdue the tongue; it is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse people made in Godʼs image. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. These things should not be so, my brothers and sisters.
James 3:7-10 (NET)
Mastery of the body is something that we are faced with constantly.
But we do find more and more success in this area the more we are successful. If we give the Spirit the leverage to rule in us over small things, then we find it easier and easier to allow him control over more.
In every believer’s walk with Jesus, we come to a point when God directs us to a specific role, doing a particular task, and we have come to magnify these events as living examples of God working in our lives. That’s to our credit.
But I’m here to tell you, just because God leads us to something, does not mean that once we are in that role everything is going to be a bundle of roses.
We subsist as disciples on the fact that this internal member in us, who is God in the Spirit, is the very reason we can do what we do, say what we say and react to the world around us as we do.
Without him we would be nothing!
You are from God, little children, and have conquered them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
1 John 4:4 (NET)
God IS greater! No doubt about that. He is bar none the greatest power in and outside space-time. He has the corner on every attribute we allot to his goodness and mercy, including goodness and mercy!
The thing is, while we get all hyped up on this power that lives in us and the resource it represents in our daily lives, just because we are obedient to that power doesn’t mean we are going to love the circumstances we find ourselves in, as a result of being obedient.
Let’s reflect on something the Apostle Paul wrote again…
I have experienced times of need and times of abundance. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of contentment, whether I go satisfied or hungry, have plenty or nothing. I am able to do all things through the one who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:12-13 (NET)
Contentment and we can even go as far as saying satisfaction, is not linked to our circumstances. It may well be that God’s will and calling for us takes us to some pretty undesirable location and situations. But this doesn’t mean that he’s left us out on our own. His intent and purpose have much more to do with our obedience, he desires to see us be obedient to him.
After all Jesus stated it straight up, “If you love me you will keep my commands.” It just doesn’t get any clearer than that.
Missionaries are called to go into life threatening parts of the world and live in surroundings that are less than healthy, less than comfortable, and less than conducive to the work for which they are called to do.
This illustration is given only because it is common, and we can readily see how God doesn’t choose our location based on creature comforts. Instead, God often will place us in less than idyllic settings to test us.
Yes, God tests us. David wrote in Psalms…
Examine me, O Lord, and test me! Evaluate my inner thoughts and motives!
Psalms 26:2 (NET)
He actually asks God to test him. David sought God’s vindication of his inner most thoughts and motivations. David, the man after God’s own heart. We should at least understand that we will be tested and be prepared for that when it comes.
Jesus was tested when the devil tempted him in the desert. Are we any better than our redeemer?
So even God desired testing of his own son, regardless of knowing exactly how this chapter and verse were going to play out.
When we come to the fulfillment of a calling we shouldn’t ever ask, “Is This the Place?” God will place us where he wants us, and he desires our submission to that will.
In the Grace of Jesus!