Thought for the Week - 11th SeptemberPastor Gareth Watkins
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
Lament and mourn and weep!
Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
Last week I wrote about how God gives us a path to walk. There might be times during this path where we might eat from the bread of adversity and water of affliction, but God can and will be there with us during that time. God hasn’t made us into Christians to fail, but to succeed!
If we accept that there’s a path in life (“this is the way, walk in it”), is it possible for us as Christians to go down the wrong path? If we can, then have we got the capability in ourselves to get in the right direction? The answer is no! Without God it isn’t possible to go in the right direction and get to the right path. God has set the path and we won’t find that right path without Him. We need Him to speak to us, to show us the way, and lighten our path.
It’s possible to fall off the path, or even be on two paths at the same time. This is why your walk is so important. If you fall off the right path, or follow the wrong path entirely, it is possible for a Christian to end up in hell. He hasn’t made us to fail, but to conquer the difficulties that come!
We need to hold our hands out to Him! God has given us a choice. We can say to God “I want to stay on that path with God”. We can command our souls to worship God. Think of the song ‘ Bless the Lord o my soul ‘ it is a command from our minds to our soul to bless the Lord..We can choose! His life is better for us. There are many implications if we choose not to walk with Him… darkness can come, chains can come back on and blessings can seep away.
There’s a road that God wants us to walk. But there are also other roads that lead to hell and fallen Christianity. It’s not just enough to believe in God! We read in James 2:7 that “even the demons believe—and tremble!”. We need to follow God – believe in Him AND walk in the path He gave us.
Last week I wrote about the pastor who claimed 95% of Christians faltered in their faith after encountering materialism during the Eastern European communist regimes. However, if we follow God’s path, there’s a 100% success rate for those who follow it to the very end, i.e. the end of our days on this earth. The path is set for us, and we need to walk in that path. We need to know where God wants us to be. When we walk on that path we will hear a Word behind us (Isaiah 30:18-22)
The verses above are a key “how to” when it comes to following that path: we need to submit to God and draw near to Him.
Most of us need help submitting to God. Our natures will see us being stubborn, perhaps we believe something different, or we’re not doing things because it doesn’t suit us, etc. But if we’re going to walk on God’s path and He’s going to speak to us, we need to listen to Him and submit to His will. As with most things, we can see things that others need to submit to God, but what about ourselves?
Can we get on this path and stay on it? Can we see that a path exists, we hear God speaking to us and we have to submit to Him? If we don’t submit to God, then we’re rebellious. And the bible tells us that “…rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft” (1 Samuel 15:23). If we’re on the pathway of God and not listening to Him when He asks something of us, we’re in rebellion. God wants us to do as He asks to stay on that path.
The rebellion is where the 95% of people who fail end up… because they won’t submit to God! Perhaps they listen to other people, they listen to themselves, they listen to the wrong teaching etc. The pathway is set for us, but there is submission from ourselves to continue upon it… we need to submit.
Do you ever feel separate from the church? You could just be feeling it, or you actually could be distanced from the church. But why are you distanced? God doesn’t want you distanced – the church is a unified body of believers. There has to be submission to the things of God and the realities of what God says to you.
We need to get past the untruths and focus on submitting to God. Submitting to God is the part we naturally resist, because naturally we want to do that which suits us. We cloud ourselves with our own desires, which aren’t necessarily in line with God’s will. Sometimes we need to stop and ask ourselves what God wants us to do… and submit to it.
Submitting is difficult because it requires a death to self. However, the miracle of God Himself is that as we submit to His will, the blessing of God comes with it. Jesus taught that people love the things of darkness instead of the light (John 3:19). God is going to guide us on into the things that belong to the light. Therefore, it’s not going to be easy – naturally we prefer the things that belong to the darkness. But He’s not brought us to this place to fail! He’s given every equipment to succeed; time and time again, until we’re called to eternity.
People have never changed – the heart of man hasn’t changed from the time of Christ.
Man has always had to submit to God on personal and real things. Even back in the 19th century, the preacher Spurgeon wrote to pray to ask the following from God:
- To have faces of flint against the errors of the age.
- Forgiveness for our coldness and indifference.
- To shake off our grave clothes.
- Not delighting ourselves in any other way.
- Extol thee with the entire submission of our hearts.
The key to 100% guaranteed success in our Christian lives is to keep on submitting. Hear the Word of God and submit! Don’t allow yourself to fall into a place of rebellion. We don’t need to fall down at the altar of materialism.
Submit to Him, ask for forgiveness and move on… don’t hold on to it. Submit and keep on listening to Him.