The question to ponder is simple, do I REALLY want to KNOW God or am I content to know OF God? The way we truthfully answer that question says a great deal about where we are with God. If we have genuinely accepted Christ as personal Savior and are striving to live a life that honors and glorifies Him, then we are not content with a basic knowledge OF God. Instead, our hearts desire is to get to KNOW God intimately. The more we come to KNOW God, the more we know we have to change our ways to be obedient to His way.
A toddler has some ways that could lead to destruction. Therefore, there is a form of discipline necessary to insure he doesn’t place a screwdriver in an outlet; doesn’t place her hand on the kitchen burner (probably shows my age); teaching them they can’t walk up to strangers on the street and go off with them; etc. etc. etc. As the child grows, he/she may not have to be reminded of such things for he/she has come to know those disciplines and tries to walk by them.
When that toddler becomes a teenager, he/she often knows better (please note these are all lower case letters), than their father and mother and sometimes rebels. However, a good father/mother loves unconditionally, teaches the truth consistently, prays fervently, models faithfully, and hungers for the day that “prodigal child” will return to the truths of his father/mother. Not because the father/mother wants to punish them or “rub their noses in it,” rather because it restores the relationship the father/mother longs for and has sought to instill within their child(ren) all along.
Over the past couple of months, I have had the opportunity to speak with many people about the truths of God’s Word. I have discovered that all of us are sometimes like little children, somewhat naive and willing to follow the lure of total strangers. When that stranger offers that lollipop, that unsuspecting child is placing himself in potential of great danger by running away from the security of his mother’s arm. The child may protest, but I contend that mother is not hurting her child by holding him close and telling him why he should be weary and cautious of strangers trying to lure him away from his mother.
Then there are times we are like rebellious teenagers. We stubbornly hold to our own ways. We know what mom and dad have taught, but we are hearing the lure of a culture that encourages us to wander away a bit and experience life on our own. Mom and dad might constantly remind us of “the way we ought to go,” but we stubbornly hold our own and go our own way.
Unfortunately, during this period, we all make mistakes we will come to regret, but – for the moment – we stubbornly go our own way and justify our actions with a theologically sound statement like, “Mom, but everybody else is doing it!” Of course, we moms and dads respond with an equally theologically sound response, “If everybody else was jumping off a cliff, would you follow them?”
If you are a parent, begin EARLY teaching them what everybody else is doing is irrelevant! What would God have YOU to do is the appropriate question we need to instill within our children early on because we will not be with them most times they are tempted to follow the crowd. Please note, I emphasized we must begin EARLY.
That reminds me of a conversation with a Sunday School teacher in our church earlier this year. There was a new student in her class. It came time for them to pray together as a Sunday School and the teacher opened the floor for the students’ prayer concerns. Everyone shared something – sick family members and friends, family member traveling to some place that week, a death in a friend’s family, etc. The teacher asked the new student if he had a prayer request. Without hesitation, the responded they should pray for the “peace of Jerusalem.” Evidence this three-year old had been in the presence of some Biblical teaching.
Most of us have lived through those rebellious years and we still, as young adults, often remain skeptical and a tad rebellious. Somewhere along the way – hopefully, we begin to mature, have regrets, etc. etc. and return to the relationship of family that is fulfilling/rewarding.
Why do I say all this? Well, first – the culture we live in appears to be neglecting our responsibilities of teaching our children the truths of God. Second, many of us in positions of leadership – whether it be parent, preacher, politician, etc, - are doing a poor job of modeling God’s truths. Third, many of us seem to be living an extended amount of time in that rebellious stage. All the while, God – with love in His eyes and His arms open wide, stands ready to receive us into His presence to enjoy the fulfillment of being His sons and daughters.
His sons and daughters that are abiding in Him, have a hearts desire to know Him more fully and experience the joy that abounds from being obedient to His ways. Every time I try to justify my actions that are contrary to God’s Ways, I know that I have slipped a little for His ways NEVER change. He does not accommodate my ways, for He knows the eternal consequences. 2 Chronicles 7: 14 may be a scripture we need to study.
In recent days, a look at Deuteronomy 14 has been a help to me. You might say, “Why a study of the forbidden things to eat?” My reply – I do not know why God chooses to use particular scriptures to pierce your heats, but He does. As I read Deuteronomy 14 I was overwhelmed with the thought that EVEN MY MENU SHOULD BE UNDER THE LORDSHIP OF CHRIST. You guys know me, so you know that would be a stretch for me to say I am there—but that is what God revealed to me. I do not know the “whys,” but God is bringing more scripture to my eyes to teach me more of His ways.
Among the scriptures included God’s command for His people to be holy. When I read that, I referred back to Deuteronomy 14 and God taught me this, I CAN NOT BE TRULY HOLY UNTIL I AM WHOLLY HIS. I pray that every time I “eat that which is forbidden” that God will remind me that I belong to Him and that more and more, I will choose to be obedient to God and not yield to the lure of the enemy and do that which brings harm to myself.
By the way, Deuteronomy 14 talks about those who belong to God and those that do not belong to God. His people are to be wholly (and holy) different from those that follow the lure of the enemy. Narrow is the way that leads to heaven, so do not believe the lies of the enemy. The enemy seeks to destroy----God sent His Son so that we might have life more abundant!