6/19/19 – Pastor Brian’s Blog –
Someone once said “Confession is good for the soul.” I am not sure of the origin of that phrase, but it might have been from the Psalmist who said… Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”– and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah Psalm 32:5
It has been a few months now, but one morning as I was getting ready to leave for work, my thoughts were consumed with all the things I had to get done that day. Now you might think that a pastor would never do this, but I was ready to leave the house without spending any quiet time with God.
To be honest, God didn’t yell at me, nor did He prompt someone to call me, and ask me how my quiet time was going. Although this might be something I would do; God didn’t even have snow fall off my roof onto me when I walked out the door. I didn’t have the sense that God was upset with me at all.
But only as God can do, He spoke to my heart in a still small voice. He asked me this question: “At the end of this day, what is more important to you: the work that you want to accomplish or the time you spend with me?” And the decision I made next, gave God His answer.
When we hear the word “success” often our mind goes to, not necessarily bad things, but often temporal things. Thoughts like a college education, running a top 500 company, being friends with your children, achieving a large nest egg to retire on, starting your own business or to take that vacation that you always dreamed about. Yet what if we have based our definition of success on the wrong standard? What if we stand before God only to realize that we haven’t truly been successful at all?
…what if we have based our definition of success on the wrong standard?
God promised Joshua success when He said… Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Joshua 1:8
Why is it hard to find time to spend with God? Why is it so easy for me to walk out of my house without reading His word? Why does it feel so right for me to say that I am too busy to become involved in a Bible study at church, or to attend church at all?
We have forgotten that we are in a spiritual battle… For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12
We are in a battle and our adversary wants us to focus on the world’s definition of success and not God’s. He wants us to place the temporal (what I can now see) over the eternal (often things we cannot see). In other words, Satan wants us to succeed at things we think are important at the expense of the things God sees as important. Important things like… “meditate on (God’s Word) day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.”
The more time we spend in God’s Word, the more we know God, the more we will obey God, and the more our lives will be conformed to the image of God. As we conform to His image, we naturally become better leaders, better pastors and teachers, better parents and grandparents, better employees and employers. We become better people because spiritual fluency, with spiritual application, leads to spiritual success.
Are you like me, being so consumed with what you want to do, with your thoughts and dreams, that unless God’s shows up, you could live a whole day, or maybe a whole week, without Him or His “Book of the Law?” Are you fully trusting God’s Word or are you one that tends to fully trust your own plans and your own thoughts. Solomon wrote… Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
There are many voices in our world today that are vying for our attention. Voices that are determined to get us to do anything but what God tells us to do. Want to be successful? Then listen to God and take Him at His Word.
How else can you explain these success stories: Jesus sleeps during a storm while His disciples are petrified. Paul sings in prison after he has been severely beaten. Abraham gets up early one morning to climb a mountain so that he could sacrifice his son as God commanded. What about Daniel going into the lion’s den without a fight? How else can you explain it, other than they not only knew God’s Word, they trusted God’s Word!
That day, when I had my day all planned out, and God came alongside of me and said, ‘Brian you have forgotten me,’ I had a decision to make. That day I chose God over me. And you know what is amazing? I have no idea what I thought was so important that I did not have time for God. But I do remember clearly what God taught me.
“We are what we are, not because of the dreams we have but because of the choices we make.”Dr. Joe Stowell