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JFH Devotionals by J.M. Farro


The Price of a Passive Response


"The righteous face many troubles, but the Lord rescues them from each and every one." - Psalm 34:19 NLT

My paternal grandmother lived with me and my family the entire time I was growing up. She was a woman of faith, and she taught me my first prayers. Unfortunately, I didn't discover how many of her beliefs were unscriptural until I began studying the Scriptures many years later. For instance, one saying of hers was, "Once you get something, it never goes away." She was speaking of bodily ailments, and as she got older and had more and more health problems, she truly believed that she would have them for the rest of her days. And she usually did.

When I began studying the Bible in-depth, along with Christ's teachings, I discovered that having a passive attitude like my grandmother's can get us out of the will of God and keep us from His best. Every day, in every situation, God says to His people: "Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, that you and your descendants might live!" (Deuteronomy 30:19 NLT) Notice that the Lord didn't say, "Now that you have chosen to follow Me, you will automatically receive life and blessing in every situation." No, that's simply not how it works. Why? Because there are opposing forces in this world that don't want you and me to be blessed, healthy, and successful. Jesus said: "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." (John 10:10 NASB) The Son of God wants to minister the life of God to us, while the devil wants to minister death. It's our responsibility to choose life over death in all things, even where the health of our bodies is concerned.

Some Christians are quick to surrender to every bodily affliction that comes their way. Some even suspect that it's God who is making them suffer. The problem with this kind of thinking is that if we view our afflictions as from the Lord, wouldn't it then be a sin for us to go to the doctor - or to take medicine - to try to gain some relief? And wouldn't it be offensive to God for us to pray for our healing? It's true that we live in a fallen world, and that there are consequences to sin, which could cause some ailments in these fleshly bodies of ours. But it's also true that as Christ-followers, we have the privilege - and even the obligation - to pray and believe God for good things while we are still here on earth. Why else would Jesus tell us to continually "ask, seek, and knock" so that we could live the abundant life He died to give us? (Matthew 7:7-11) As Romans 8:31-32 (NLT) says: "What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since He did not spare even His own Son but gave Him up for us all, won't He also give us everything else?"

One of the most inspiring testimonies in the Bible is the account of King Hezekiah in Second Kings 20:1-7 (NKJV). Here, the good king is on his sickbed, and God Himself tells the prophet Isaiah to go to Hezekiah and tell him to get his house in order because he is going to die of his affliction. What is the king's response? He turns to the Lord in prayer, pleading for His mercy. And as a result, God tells him, "I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you. And I will add to your days fifteen years." (verses 5 & 6) Suppose Hezekiah had adopted my grandmother's passive attitude? He would have missed out on a miracle that is inspiring lives thousands of years later.

When trouble of any kind comes our way, we can actively "choose life" by praying and believing God for good things, and claiming His promises of healing, provision, and deliverance. One promise that I pray and stand on every single day for myself and my loved ones is Psalm 34:17 (AMP): "When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their distress and troubles." I refuse to take a passive stance against distressing situations that come against me and my family, and I make it my business to seek God for His wisdom, assistance, and power - trusting Him to keep His Word. What have you been passively accepting lately that the Lord might want you to refuse and resist?

Prayer: Lord, Your Word says that "every good and perfect gift" is from You, so please remind me of that whenever adversity comes my way. (James 1:17) I know that You can bring great good out of even the worst circumstances (Romans 8:28), but help me not to adopt a passive attitude when it's Your will for me to stand against attacks on my body, my marriage, my family, or my finances. Teach me how to "submit" to You and "resist the devil" in every situation. (James 4:7) Thank You that as I am sensitive and obedient to Your Spirit's leading in these areas, I will never miss out on Your very best!

- J. M. Farro

 

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Music Out This Week

This Friday, August 24
Aaron Boyd Jericho [Lucid Artist Management]
The Erwins Watch & See [Stowtown]
Gaither Vocal Band Special Anniversary Collection [Gaither/Capitol]

NEXT Friday, August 31
Jesus Culture Living with a Fire [Jesus Culture]


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