Frequently we talk about “those things” we wish we could get rid of in our lives. Habits, addictions, tendencies, sins that we recognize as being detrimental to our lives. We even go to great lengths to understand why we struggle with the things with which we struggle. Somewhere in the midst of this desire to find the cause of our issues I think we have lost the reality that “those things” are choices.
Don’t get me wrong, our past can give us an affinity toward certain habits and sins, but at the end of the day, we make the choice to indulge. This is how Paul explains it in Romans 6:16, “Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.” (NLT).
Recently, while reading The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges I was struck by this statement, “It is hypocritical to pray for victory over our sins yet be careless in our intake of the Word of God.” (page 75).
Our desire to get past “those things” while failing to regularly consume God’s Word is like someone wanting to run a 26.2 mile marathon but failing to regularly run in the months leading up to the race. We would look at a person who did this and think that they didn’t really want to run a marathon, and that they just wanted to talk about running a marathon.
Furthermore, when we are intentional about our intake of Scripture and put it to memory, the Holy Spirit brings those passages to mind at the right time. Maybe you need to start with Romans 6:16, so that when you are faced with temptation you can be reminded that it is your choice. You choose what to obey, temptation or God.
If you struggle with saying things you shouldn’t maybe you need to memorize Ephesians 4:29, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those that hear.” (ESV).
If you struggle with lust it might be helpful to memorize Matthew 5:28, “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (ESV).
Greed? Colossians 3:5, “ So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.” (NLT).
Unforgiveness? Matthew 6:14-15, “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive you.” (ESV).
I could go on, but you get the point.
Understand, we have a choice Who/what we will obey. If we are going to be conformed to the image of Christ, for the sake of others, and to the glory of God, we must be intentional about our Scripture intake.
It’s your choice, who will you obey?
How often have we caught ourselves saying I can hardly wait? Waiting is one of my least favorite things to do. When I am going on a trip and I get stuck in traffic…not good. When you are at an amusement park and your favorite ride has a line that is 2 hours long…not good. Growing up my family would always take a week during the summer and spend it in Monticello on Lake Freeman at my grandparent’s lake cottage. The hour and 10 minute car ride seemed like an eternity. As we got closer to the lake my sister and I would start to try to get the best spot in the car to see the big green bridge that crossed the lake, because we knew when we saw it we were there and there would be no more waiting. It was a contest to see who could see the bridge first. There was some shoving and possibly elbows that were thrown but we wanted to be the first to see it. The big green bridge was always something we looked forward to seeing. When it’s something you are excited about waiting seems harder, but worth the wait in the end because of where you end up.
Many of us find ourselves in many different areas of life waiting. Waiting for an answer, for a decision, for an opportunity, for more time, or for the end. Whatever we are waiting for, trusting that God will guide you where you need to be is crucial. I knew that we would end up at the big green bridge because I trusted my dad in getting us there. God does the same for us. He is taking us on a journey through life and He is leading you where you need to go. It may be nerve wrecking or seem crazy but He is in control. All we have to do is sit and be still and trust that He will get us there. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God”. The Psalmist tells us to be still and know God. In a sense he is telling us to wait for it. Wait for God to show up and lead us to where we need to go. So in all the times we get impatient and get tired of waiting, remember that God has everything planned out for you. If you rush away in a different direction because you are tired of waiting you will miss out on what God has in store for you. So don’t rush and don’t be impatient. The big green bridge is coming…just wait for it.
Blog posts from the Sterling staff, and maybe even the occasional guest blogger.