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Is it Good or Is It God?
Both Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25 reveal to us that, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death." There are many things we consider on a daily basis which may seem good or right, or even spiritual, and may be the way things are normally done. However, unless our decisions and methods are directed by the Lord, they can get us into trouble! At the very least, the divine life we want to see manifest in our lives and ministries will succumb to death and stagnation little by little if we do not learn to listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit for every step that we take. His kingdom will be hindered from coming fully into our lives, and we will lack the dynamic of His incredible presence in our midst if we step out on our own. We must be both God-motivated and God-directed if we are to see His kingdom come in might and in power in our personal lives and ministries, and if we are to see our cities truly changed.
We must also be God-empowered! I have learned through a number of disappointing experiences through the years that relying on our own effort will lead to trouble also. We truly must seek to be enabled, empowered and sustained by Him alone, if we are to realize the fullness of His kingdom in our lives and ministries. Psalm 20:7-8 contrasts the result of relying on the Lord with relying on our own human ability and methods. One stands firm, but the other eventually falls. Do you know that we can be committed Christians and still put our trust in ourselves or others? We can also be fervent believers and still put much of our faith in the world system or the religious system, rather than in the Lord Himself. It is only those who put their complete trust in the Lord who will stand firm!
Isaiah 31:1 issues a warning to those who put their trust in people or things other than the Lord and do not seek Him. So often we say that we are relying on the Lord and seeking Him, but our actions demonstrate otherwise. We run here and there looking for the help we need, instead of turning our eyes to Him. Or we try to fix any problem ourselves, relying on our own logic, wisdom and human reasoning. And in our self-reliance we do not seek Him.
Looking at the New Testament, the Apostle Paul in Galatians 3:3 calls our self-sufficiency and self-reliance foolishness! The kingdom of God will only be realized in our lives if we are committed to God's plan, God's way, in God's timing. For many, this may sound like simple common sense. But it is surprising the discrepancy that often exists between what we believe we know and how we live our lives! There are many things we know intellectually that never make it down to our hearts to change our attitudes and actions.
Many years ago, I was required to take a Physics course at my university. It was the only course I almost failed! But I learned something in that course which has helped me to understand how spiritual things work (or do not work) in us. There was a section in this course on circuits. I learned that a resistor added to a circuit will reduce the flow of current through the circuit. A resistor is made of something that does not conduct well. Using a non-conductor would stop the flow all together. As human beings, I've discovered, we all have a built-in "resistor" called our carnal nature. This natural resistor hinders and sometimes blocks completely the current of God's life and power from our heads to our hearts! Our carnal nature acts as a spiritual inhibitor, causing us to miss God's plan, His way or His timing as we substitute our own. Ours seem so good! Our plan, our way and our timing seem so right to us, but they will lead very subtly to spiritual death working in our lives and ministries (Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25).
I pray we will be encouraged today to seek the Lord in every matter and to surrender to Him the complacency and pride that cause us to operate independently of Him. As we do so, He will take His place upon the throne of our hearts, becoming Lord over a greater part of our lives. And as we differentiate between what is merely "good" and that which is actually God's thinking and leading, His kingdom will increasingly be established and released in our lives and in this earth to bring real life and transformation.