Psalm 127:1 (ESV) 1
Probably my favorite verse in the entire Bible. If you have been in a Sears store in the last 20-30 years, or in fact in any number of retail outlets over the years, then you are familiar with the title of this message. The slogan,on signs throughout the store giving the consumer a choice of three qualities of products. One can by the good one for the least expensive (never say cheapest) amount. Or one can upgrade to the better model, of course for a little more money. Finally, the "Cadillac" is offered when only the best is good enough.
I was reading an article this week about redeeming the time. But,it was one statement in the article that was relevant to me and hence this message today.It went like this:
"Often it is not evil pursuits that rob us....Rather,the temptation is to sacrifice what is best for what is good." When I read that, the above verse in Psalms popped into my head.
The above Scripture was one of the first concepts that as a young Christian I learned in my head,but not in my heart. The most difficult path to traverse in this life is the distance between our head and our heart. I can personally attest to the truthfulness of this statement after forty or so years of experience. It is one thing to read about it in a book;quite another to translate the teaching into the practical aspects of our lives isn't it? Becoming a doer and not a hearer only is most times difficult and costly.
I remember MANY moons ago,reading a book on discerning the will of God for our lives entitled "Fifteen Steps Out." The one precept that still stands out to me is determining the wisdom of God. You remember don't you? James 3:17
James 3:17 (ESV) 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.
Without going into detail,our decisions should be based upon and indeed line up with three tests. The Word Of God, Circumstances, and Inner Witness or prompting of the Holy Ghost. They ALL THREE had to line up and be in harmony. If for instance you had a strong inner witness, an inward feeling or leading about going a certain direction and it did not contradict what the Bible said, BUT it did not line up with your particular circumstances,then you needed to step back and take another look. Look again at the verse. It must be pure(not contradictory to the written word),it must be peaceable and gentle(inner witness) and it must be open to reason. That phrase means it is easy to talk over with others.When seeking counsel,while their may be a dissenting voice, the general reaction of those around you will be favorable.While there are exceptions, this is generally a good test to examine the direction you are contemplating.
A good example of this is the story about the young man on fire for God. Happily married with a couple of kids, one day he comes in from work and declares to his wife that God has called him to the mission field on the other side of the world. All seems right with this until the facts of his circumstances are examined. Wife and two children to raise and God is calling him elsewhere? Maybe,but not likely. He might need to take a long,long look at what he is thinking about doing. Extreme example yes,but you're getting my drift.
And herein lieth the lesson.
Many times in this life we are presented with opportunities that appear very attractive. Job,ministry etc.,etc., And many times this is what we do. We take a couple of verses out of context and convince ourselves that the Lord spoke them to our heart concerning our decision. But, if...IF we subject it to the scrutiny of the whole counsel of God, we get a different picture. Or we allow that inner witness to overwhelm and cancel out Scripture or the wise counsel of others. We find out later that it was nothing but our unbridled desires or ambition controlling our decisions. Finally,sometimes it looks so right that we just charge headlong into the melee,disregarding all the warning signs; and most times like clockwork,some time later,we sit blind sided and wondering what happened.
Brothers and sisters,if we allow the Lord to build the house, we avoid the pitfalls and set backs that come with us doing it our way. Sometimes sitting steady in the boat can be maddening as we watch what we think is our life passing in front of us. But rest assured,while it may seem slow and painful, if the Lord is building the house,it will be built on solid ground and will not fail in times of trouble.
Psalm 54:4 (ESV) 4 Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life.