In Touch Ministries
July 17, 2012
The Consequences of Drifting
Read | Hebrews 3:12-13
Spiritual drifting--the gradual wandering away from God and His will--takes place when a believer ceases to steer toward the Lord. Like an empty boat set loose upon the waters, he or she makes a slow and lazy glide away from good practices like disciplined obedience, regular Bible study, prayer, and assembling with fellow Christians. And there are consequences for casting yourself on uncharted and dangerous waters.
A life adrift is outside of God's will and therefore in sin. The Holy Spirit pricks a believer's conscience to send a message when he is off course, but the drifter is prone to ignore such warnings. If a Christian continually excuses his wandering ways and denies sin, then his conscience gradually numbs. A person who becomes desensitized to wrongdoing has paved the way for more sinful behavior with less guilt. Can you imagine a more dangerous situation?
As the drifting believer's conscience becomes anesthetized, his spiritual ears are also deadened--truth cannot gain entrance because he has invited wrong attitudes and philosophies into his thinking process. What's more, his heart hardens to the things of God. Shrinking away from testimonies about divine power, grace, and mercy, he avoids situations that might reawaken the conscience and stir his spirit to repentance.
People drift from God in search of more--more freedom, choices, and pleasure. But since the consequences are a hard heart, a numb conscience, and dead ears, what they end up with is less. The drifting believer sacrifices the victorious life in Christ for an existence devoid of permanent satisfaction.
July 18, 2012
Getting Back on Course
Read | 2 Peter 3:17-18
No matter how far away from God you have drifted, you're always welcome back. That's the lesson from Jesus' parable about the prodigal son--the foolish boy who followed a pleasure-filled path to ruin before returning to his father and finding redemption (Luke 15:11-32). Perhaps ruin has not yet come to you, but you know that your heart has grown cool to the things of God. Whatever your drifting story, make this the day that you point yourself back to the Lord.
As with any sin, the first motion toward getting back on course is to acknowledge that you have slipped away from the Lord. Then you confess and repent, which is like turning your boat in the opposite direction and paddling toward God with all your strength. If you're wondering exactly how to do that, I suggest a strategy I use every morning. Before I step out of bed, I give myself to God by acknowledging, I surrender my entire life to You for this day. When something comes up that runs counter to His plan and I consider pursuing it, the Holy Spirit reminds me that I am not my own. Only God's way will do for me.
Every day we choose whether to row or drift. As for me, I choose to vigorously pursue God.
Peter gives a warning to be on guard against attitudes and ideologies that would carry you away from truth (2 Peter 3:17). Instead, choose to paddle your lifeboat toward the Lord by meditating on Scripture, praying, and living obediently. Practicing the spiritual disciplines keeps a heart warm toward God.
In Touch Ministries
July 13, 2012
Protection from Pride
Read | 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
One of God's reasons for sending adversity into our lives is to conquer pride. Paul experienced this kind of divine intervention through the presence of what he called "a thorn in the flesh" (2 Cor. 12:7). The Lord used pain in Paul's life to guard his effectiveness as a servant of Christ.
We don't usually realize what's at stake when we allow pride to take root in our lives. It affects how God interacts with us because He "is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6). If a Christian lets pride take root and grow, the Lord will set him on a shelf. Then the believer will never realize the potential of all that God wanted to do in and through him. In essence, he will miss his calling and become useless in the kingdom. Even if the world still sees him as a success, in the Lord's eyes, his ministry is worthless because it's self-motivated and self-empowered.
Can you see how much was at stake for Paul--and for believers throughout history? The apostle was God's chosen instrument to establish churches and write letters that would become a major portion of our New Testament. When he understood the reason for his "thorn," Paul reacted with complete trust and gratitude for the Lord's wise and loving protection.
Perhaps you can see why adversity was essential for Paul--but it's also vital for you. Each of us has been given areas of influence and opportunities to serve, but pride hinders the fulfillment of the Lord's goals for our lives. If trouble comes, humble yourself immediately so God can use you greatly.
In Touch Ministries
July 6, 2012
Satisfaction for the Thirsty Soul
Read | 1 Peter 2:1-2
Think about a time when you experienced unbearable thirst. You probably would have traded anything for a drink. When you finally got your wish, there was nothing that could have tasted better than that cold, refreshing glass of water.
Compare this physical need to spiritual thirst. Jesus referred to Himself as "living water" because He knew our deep need for fulfillment. And only He can truly satisfy.
Isn't it interesting, then, that we live in a society where most people feel dissatisfied? In Christ, we have everything necessary to be complete, content, and fulfilled. Yet our world deceptively tells us to seek after wealth, glory, and other empty dreams. These seem to gratify for a short time, if at all. Yet we often do not recognize our actual needs. The Enemy continues to deceive by telling us that his poor substitutes will satisfy the hunger inside us.
Our Father, on the other hand, is all we need. Let's look at three passages from Scripture. Jesus called Himself "the bread of life" and "living water"--the sustenance our souls require to survive and thrive (John 6:34-35; 7:38). His Word is alive, able to teach, convict, and redirect us toward a godly path (Heb. 4:12). God's truth, which is called spiritual milk, provides the nourishment our souls need (1 Peter 2:2).
All of us have an emptiness within--a longing for something more. What are you attempting to use to satisfy it? Our hearts are like a jigsaw puzzle. No matter how hard you try to force a wrong piece, it will never fit correctly. Turn to Jesus, and His living water will satisfy your soul.