I have been gone on a two week excursion with the fam to visit other family and friends back in my old stomping grounds on the east coast.
I am not gonna lie, it was a very L-O-N-G trip! When you take our little family of five, plus a 20-ish hour drive, it equals three days on the road in order to reach our destination! Due to a zillion requests for potty breaks, we have to get lodging for two nights on the way!
After a grueling day of being stuck in a car with no escape, the sight of the Holiday Inn sign represented rest and freedom! There, we got a much needed break from driving! We took the kids to the pool, stretched out our legs and most of all-got some SLEEP without having to be curled up in a ball!
The next morning, we woke up, enjoyed the free breakfast offerings, cleared out the room and got back on the road to do it all again for another 7-9 hours.
As we headed out to the car, I noticed that my surroundings looked so different in the morning.
It's totally weird, but the interstate we just drove on the evening before looked like a completely different road-opposed to the one we left while headed to the salvation of the hotel.
I was the one getting us back on the road after our overnight stay. The GPS started squawking at me to make a few turns that appeared to be taking me in the WRONG direction. Though I knew the GPS could be trusted-it is loaded with maps and "knows" the way better than I ever could- something within me was screaming, CLAWING at me even, "WRONG WAY!"
It felt like the wrong way. But just because it FELT like the wrong way, does that mean it actually WAS the wrong way???
Yesterday is history and I DID, in fact, follow the directions of the GPS. I can testify, however, that had I listened to my flesh-that POWERFUL feeling and urge to do something quite the opposite of the right I was told to do- I would have been the wrong one. Had I gone against the wisdom of the "all knowing" GPS, we would have gone back in the direction we had worked so hard to come away from. That, my friends, is what we call counter-productivity at its finest!!
That thought got me to thinking (as usual), and this verse came to mind:
Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
And if that doesn't speak to you, maybe this one will.....
Proverbs 16:25 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
Those are the same words ordered together to communicate the same EXACT thought...TWICE, in two separate locations in the bible!! (Maybe you already knew that, but I learned something new today!!)
In that moment, I contemplated "following my guts", yet I determined that the wise counsel of the GPS would be the better path, though I felt differently.
I don't naturally "feel" like being Holy or following God. If left to my own thoughts and ways, I will choose me, myself and I. I will find ways to rationalize all that I want to happen in my life. I will fashion my existence after pleasing myself. It just "feels" right to go after all that makes me happy.
Enter the Spirit of God. HE is the game changer.
There is much within me that still desires to go after what feels good and right in my own eyes, EXCEPT THAT I have learned the Word of truth and it has taken root in my heart. The Spirit living within me takes a mindless game of pursuing self and He shifts my desires to pursue what God wants even when "I ain't feelin' it" sometimes.
But why do what God wants anyway? Does it gain me favor or position with Him?
Can I feel better about myself if I have a good day of beating my flesh into submission?
Is it the fact that I have come to know it is important obey Him because HE is important...because HE is worthy of all my energy and praise? Or further more, is it just reasonable to serve the One who has done so much for me that I do not deserve??
That is a conclusion I would not come to without the power of the grace of God on my life. Instead of living to serve me, God works in me to follow HIM! As I know Him more, I want to be an active participant in sharing the love He was so merciful in giving to me!
My point is that if we are ruled by the whim of our emotions without wise counsel from the Spirit of God, by the Word of God to guide and inform us, we err.
In fact, erring is the least of our worries when Proverbs says we will end up dead. And not just physically dead, it is a far worse fate than that. We will end up Spiritually dead in trespasses and sin if we go around doing merely the "way that seems right" to us with no thought of God.
The truth is, we are sinful people in need of a Savior.
Col 2:13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,
Col 2:14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
Before God we have a "record of debt" (sins) that "stood (or currently stands) against us". This is a serious problem.
Apart from God to forgive those trespasses through the atoning work of Jesus, we stand dead in our sins before God.
Our flesh won't desire to be reconciled to God. We won't see the need for it because it is not natural to us to perceive that need-we just won't "feel like it" of our own volition.
We need the Spirit of God to intervene in order for us to be compelled to follow God.
Without God working by His Spiritual "GPS" in our hearts by the truth of God's Word, our flesh will scream "WRONG WAY, WROOONG WAAAY!"
Does that mean we will never fight God in our walk with Him? Is it possible to still have battles even when God has brought us to a saving faith and knowledge of Him?
You better believe it!
It isn't that our flesh just turns off. Instead, it is the Spirit of God at work in us that causes us to value God's work that "cancel(s) the record of debt". Truly understanding the grace of God compels us to follow Him.
I can assure you, when God has so worked in you to love and to trust Him, you will NEVER regret submitting yourself to God's righteous rules, though sometimes you may feel differently in the moment!
As time goes on, the Spirit's work in you will train you to godliness and eventually-little by little-you will find that following your flesh turns out to be what "feels" wrong!
I leave you with these verses to encourage you to press on to follow Him:
Galatians 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
And how do you walk by the Spirit?
Jesus said this:
John 6:63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
And where do we find the words of Jesus? (The Bible...very good, class!) ;)
Now go-read the words of truth alone or ask a friend to guide you! May the Spirit of God work in you mightily by the power of His Word!
Written that the name of Christ be praised,