Our lives are moving in one of two directions: Toward God or away from him. Like a crescendo in a symphonic orchestration, we advance in Christ likeness, or descend into an increasingly hellish nightmare. Often the deception we embrace is that we can sow what we please and jury-rig the outcome. No so, God warns, Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. (Gal. 6:7, 8)
In the early stages of our spiritual lives the innocuous little seeds of embracing Gods values, or pandering to our lower nature appears rather innocent. Dont be deceived. Like the illustration of the mustard seed, what we sow will mature into a powerful force. As someone has sagely observed: Sow a thought, reap an action, sow an action, reap a habit, sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny. Or as the western ballad proclaims, Sin will take you farther than you want to go, sin will cost you far more that you want to pay. The drunk in the gutter, upon taking his first drink at age 14 certainly did not chart his future with, Gee, I think I will make it my goal to end up in the street, face down, a hopeless lush.
Recently I received a notice that Kirk Black had died. A sadness crept over me as I reflected back over his life. Kirk was a rugged mans man who had a powerful influence on scores of men for Christ. Then the bottom fell out of the marriage and the family disintegrated. Kirk became an alcoholic, bouncing from one job and locale to another until his untimely death. The problem? A long unresolved issue of sensuality that finally got him by the throat and ripped him apart. Somehow he was able to mask it for many years, until the rancor of it seeped to the surface and blew his relationship with his wife and kids into smithereens.
I have observed many others with secret, unresolved issues, (bitterness, lust, insatiable pride, paralyzing fear, etc.) that were never dealt with, who ossified spiritually and became rigid, and unreachable. Their spiritual stagnation did not necessarily result in a dramatic flameout, but in paralyzing immobilization and stagnation.
Richard Foster observes, If certain chambers of our heart have never experienced Gods healing touch, perhaps it is because we have not welcomed the divine scrutiny. The most important, most real, most lasting work is accomplished in the depths of our heart. This work is solitary and interior. It cannot be seen by anyone, not even ourselves. It is a work known only to God. It is the work of heart purity, of soul conversion, of inward transformation of life formation.
If we have not welcomed Gods divine scrutiny and experienced his transforming touch, we can anticipate a downward descent. In Psalm 106:12 we observe the faith of the Children of Israel: They believed his promises and sang his praise. Then tragically, they began their downward descent. Among other things:
They soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his counsel
They gave in to their craving; in the wasteland they put God to the test
They mingled with the nations and adopted their customs
They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters Until finally,
[God] handed them over to the nations, and their foes ruled over them. (Psa. 106 Selected) (See Pro. 1:21-33; Rom. 1:21-31)
(Part #2 of this Facts will continue next week)Views: 648