"If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all."
- Isaiah 7:9 NIV
Yesterday, my husband, Joe, and I went shopping for a new sofabed. The one we had was almost 20 years old, and it no longer afforded our overnight guests a decent night's sleep. In the very first store we went to, we found a wonderful sofabed that we thought was just what we were looking for. The best part was that we could have it delivered to our home in only one week's time, and we would have it before my sister and her husband came to visit us in two weeks. Even though I had already prayed that the Lord would help us make the right decision, I silently pleaded with Him once again, "Please don't let us do anything we're going to regret later." Suddenly, I sensed a lack of peace in my heart about buying this sofabed. I turned to the saleslady and told her that I could not make a decision on the spot, and she began writing out a sales ticket for me, in the hope that I would come back and purchase it at a later time. Joe knew that I had been only one second away from buying that sofabed, so he asked me what had changed my mind. I told him, "After I prayed about it, I realized that I didn't have peace about it, and I felt that we should wait." As we left the store, I noticed that right across the street was a furniture store that sold the same brand as our bedroom set. Joe and I both agreed that we should check it out. As soon as we saw the sofabeds they offered, we knew that we had done the right thing by delaying our decision in the first store. We were going to have to wait eight weeks to get our new sofabed, but we were sure it would be worth it because of the high quality of the product, and the peace we had in our hearts as we placed the order.
This pleasant experience reminded me of one that my husband and I had several years earlier that didn't end so pleasantly. Joe's old car had died, and we knew that we had to replace it quickly, so we began searching used car lots in our area. We found what we thought was the perfect car, but the price was higher than we could afford. When my husband asked the salesman if he could come down in price, the man flatly refused. As we began leaving the car lot, the salesman stopped us and said, "If you buy this car right now, I will throw in the warranty for free." Joe couldn't resist the offer, and he said, "You've got a deal!" The very first day my husband was driving his new car to work, the engine blew up. He was furious, because he was sure that we had been swindled. Even so, he knew it would have been much worse if we didn't have the warranty on the car, which helped to pay for some of the expenses.
Why did these two shopping experiences end so differently? Because even though my husband and I sought the Lord's wisdom and guidance in both of them, we only followed His Spirit's leading in one of them. When we went shopping for a car, instead of yielding to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, we yielded to the pressures of a salesman. How often do we miss out on God's best because we allow ourselves to be pressured into doing things that are out of His will for us? Scripture says: "If you need wisdom--if you want to know what God wants you to do--ask Him, and He will gladly tell you." (James 1:5 NLT) Notice it says that the Lord will gladly tell us what to do when we ask Him to. It doesn't say that He will twist our arms and coerce us into doing what's best for us. But there WILL be people in this world who will have no qualms about pushing us and pressuring us into doing what THEY want us to do. If we don't stand strong in times of pressure, we will never fulfill the call of God on our lives, and we will live our lives in mediocrity and frustration. The Bible says: "The people who know their God shall prove themselves strong and shall stand firm and do exploits [for God]." (Daniel 11:32 AMP) I have discovered that the closer I get to the Lord, the easier it is for me to stand firm against this kind of pressure. And the more He uses me and promotes me for His glory. My heartfelt prayer for you today is that you would grow strong in the Lord, until you are able to resist the pressure that would rob you of His best!
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for the times I caved in to the pressure that others put on me to do and be what wasn't Your will for me. Make me strong in You, and help me to do my part by wholly devoting myself to You and Your Word. Thank You that as I learn to stand firm, I will reap the very best of your blessings!
- J. M. Farro