Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God…and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness
I was so excited when I found out this series was on Rest. Yes! I thought. I finally get to write about one of my favorite topics in God-resting in His presence. You see I have been studying this topic through Psalms 91 for years, and it brings me so much joy to talk about it. But my mom says often, “If you wanna make God laugh, tell Him your plans.” As usual God in His infinite wisdom, all-knowing self has flipped the script yet again.
I awoke this morning thirsty for His word. It had been a few days since I sat before Him and I felt Him calling me. So I gathered my books (devotional, Bible, and notepad), my coffee, and headed to my office. I started reading about not being a stumbling block to my brothers and sisters in Romans 14, and Jesus rebuking the religious leaders in Luke 11. I heard God say, “I want you to write about this.” Really God? But the topic is rest. “How about we rest from the nonsense?” I heard. Ok!
I was instantly convicted of the not-so-small ways I allow the Devil to use me as a weapon against my brethren and they may not even know it. I began to let the Holy Spirit search me (Psalms 139: 23-24) and examine my ways through His lenses. When He was finished, I had no choice but to confess. So exercising Principle 4 (Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God and to someone I trust.), I confess that I still gossip about people in ways that don’t glorify the One I vowed to represent- the Most High God. I confess I still judge according to my expectations. And while I am not up praying their demise and damnation, I am still preying because I’m not praying their deliverance or well-being either. “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen” 1 John 4:20. But wait! I didn’t say I hated them. I said I sometimes gossip and judge them. That’s not hate. Is it? Is it?
1 Corinthians gives a laundry list of what love is, and in it we find this, “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth. It ALWAYS protects” (emphasis added). Whenever you and I choose to gossip about our brothers and sisters, or judge their heart and motives we are not protecting them. In fact we are exploiting them. We are making use of their faults or situation for our own satisfaction, bringing more attention to their shortcomings, and enjoying it. If we’re honest, those of us who struggle with this sin do so because we enjoy it. Eeek! That’s not love. That is not God. It’s not a harmless victimless crime either. It’s hateful, hurtful and the work of the Devil and God says, Stop it!
Stop it and use your instruments- your mouth- for righteousness instead of bringing unwanted attention to another’s habit, hurt or hang ups. I’m going to get in the practice of saying, “if it does not glorify God, then I’m not saying it”. Jesus says in Luke 11:37-52 that the Pharisees were forgetting the more important things which is to ease the burden of the people. I am not helping my fellow Christians when I use my tongue against them. I am adding to the weight of their burdens by adding more burdens. Whenever we find out that someone is gossiping or speaking bad about us, it hurts. Not only do we jeopardize their recovery and risk setting them back further, but we also open ourselves up to the Devil to continue to do his work through us. The Devil is not offended that we have vowed to live for God, but do his work instead. Doesn’t bother him one bit.
Once we’ve decide to speak evil, it is so easy to continue down that negative path of disregard. We begin to distrust, dislike, and dismiss them totally. We have diminished them to nothingness. When God has called them blessed, we have said otherwise. We condemn and become judge and jury over their worth making it difficult for God to use us . Now when He tells us to pray, lay hands, give a hug or speak a kind word on His behalf we find it difficult. We cannot hear God clearly because we’re busy working through our emotions. Can you see how easy it is to get entangled in that web of deception? Who has us entangled and distracted? The Devil. He’s crafty. We (those like myself) cannot continue to play both sides, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters,” Matthew 12:30. I don’t want to scatter, but gather with God instead. Lord, thank you for Your Grace and Mercy who are always following me closely.
God is calling us to stop it and rest in His ways.
In Psalms 91 (can you see me smiling?), David says, “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High God shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” There are so many promises of God for those who choose to dwell in the presence of God. For those who decide to live in the PEACE of God there is protection. There is rest.
To choose the opposite is to try and live this life- survive this life outside the protection of God. It’s equivalent to trying to navigate through enemy territory in the pitch dark without night goggles. Good luck with that. God provides night vision as we navigate through the Enemy’s territory. He’s called the Holy Spirit, but we have to remain vigilant and sensitive to His leading. He is trying to lead us down the path of least resistance if we will only listen and follow Him. His precepts are our pathway to peace- to stress-free rest. Selah. For the footsteps of a righteous man are ordered by God (Psalms 37:23). God’s provisions for seeing my enemy increases my chances of survival. No, it guarantees my survival. I cannot be distracted by the foolery of the Devil. And every time I choose to speak evil against my fellow soldier, I am helping to destroy him, and “A double-minded man is unstable in all of his ways,” James 1:8.
I don’t know about you but I trust that if you’ve read my post to this point then you’re like me when I say I want to rest in the precepts and provisions of God instead of trying to do it my way. I am tired. I am exhausted and totally confused from trying to figure it out. My ways bring stress- the opposite of rest, the opposite of peace. I want the peace of God that surpasses all understanding. I choose to hide behind the wings of the Almighty God and trust Him.
Join me in Prayer and worship
Heavenly Father-Most High God,
I bow before You acknowledging that in some ways I have not been obedient to Your ways. I have not been using my instruments for righteousness, but unrighteousness instead. Please forgive me. My heart’s desire is to please You, and I choose Your ways over my own and the Devil’s also. My heart is willing Father, but my flesh is weak and I need your help. I know I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me so I choose to press toward the mark you have set before me. I ask for strength to resist the Enemy, and hold up and cover my sisters and brothers instead of condemning them. Greater is He that is within me than He that is in the world and I am on the winning team. Thank you God for choosing and trusting me with Your precious work. I will continue to honor You in all that I say and do. I am grateful for Your love, provision and protection offered through the blood of Jesus Christ, and it is In His name that I pray, Amen.
Be blessed and live blessed,