"Loving God means doing what He tells us to do, and really, that isn't hard at all; for every child of God can obey Him, defeating sin and evil pleasure by trusting Christ to help him."
- 1 John 5:3-4 TLB
I was talking to a close friend of mine about plans that some of my loved ones were making, and she asked me if they had prayed about them. I told her that they had, and she said, "Yes, but are they LISTENING to what God has told them?" Then she confessed to me that she had been guilty of making this same mistake many times herself, and that it had always cost her dearly. A day or two later, I heard from a young man who had been in a relationship that had ended badly. He began to describe to me a pattern of failed relationships, and he expressed his confusion, bewilderment, and frustration. Every time he was attracted to a girl, he would pray for God's guidance before he got involved. Yet in each and every case, he would end up being hurt and mistreated. He confessed that he was feeling more and more "disconnected" from the Lord, as a result.
I told this man that he was right to pray before entering a relationship. But was he heeding the Lord's advice when He tried to give it to him? Unfortunately, it's not uncommon for us to ask for God's guidance, and then choose to follow our emotions, instead of His leading. Our emotions can speak louder that God's "still, small voice," and if we're not careful, we will end up letting our feelings and desires lead us around by the nose. The Lord will not lead us into destructive relationships. But Satan will. God is a gentleman, and He will not force His will upon us. But the devil will. I told this young man that the Lord had the perfect mate in store for him--one who would love him with the God-kind of love--but he had to want it badly enough to do whatever it takes to lay hold of it.
The Bible says: "Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]." (Romans 12:2 AMP) We are never going to walk in God's perfect will, or receive the good things the Lord has in store for us, until our minds are renewed to His truth, and we begin to see things from His perspective. That's why spending regular time in God's Word is absolutely essential. As we hear it, read it, memorize it, and meditate on it, we begin thinking more and more like God, and less and less like the world.
God promises each believer: "I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control." (Psalm 32:8-9 NLT) The Lord longs to lead His children in the paths of His greatest blessings. But He can't do that when we're bent on "doing our own thing," and going our own way. Jesus calls Himself the "Good Shepherd," and He says to us, "Follow Me." (John 10:11, Mark 8:34) But too often, we choose NOT to follow His lead. Inevitably, we wind up falling off a cliff, and then we say, "Where were you, God? Why did you let this happen to me?"
I once heard the pastor of the largest church in the world being interviewed. When someone asked him what the secret of his success was, he replied simply, "I pray and obey." Unfortunately, there are a good number of believers these days who pray, and then disobey. It does us little good to seek God for His will in a situation, if we're not going to obey Him when He speaks to us. May we heed the Lord's plea today that says--"Obey Me. Do what I say and I will be your God and you will be my people. Live the way I tell you. Do what I command so that your lives will go well"! (Jeremiah 7:23 MSG)
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for the times that I sought You for Your will, and then refused to obey You. Remind me often that You have awesome plans for my life, but in order to experience them, I must follow Your lead. Thank You that You have equipped me with Holy Spirit power to live Your way, so that I may walk in the victory and success that Christ died for me to have!
- J. M. Farro