i reflect on my walk with the Lord over the years. To be transparent and honest, I know there are many things that I have done and gone ahead with KNOWING FULL WELL that it isn’t pleasing to God. There are times that I have muttered a prayer and walked into the wrong thing yet aftermath I would cry and cry as I know I have displeased God. Then of course I will confess to my close prayer / accountability partners as well. I really thank God that these people have held my hand without condemning but rather encouraging me to hang in there, that God knows your heart.
Nowadays I see the type of areas that I stumble are more in the areas of pleasing people while ignoring or being doubtful of the still small voice that God whispers into my ear. It’s about doing something GOOD (even ministries mind you) but not of GOD. Believe it or not, these acts of good are still SIN in HIS eyes. Whatever it is that He tells us NOT TO DO, when we go ahead with it we lose our peace as it is disobeying Him.
Think of Eve and her REASONS for giving into the temptation of eating of the fruit from the forbidden tree: GOOD FOR FOOD, DESIRABLE FOR GAINING WISDOM and PLEASING TO THE EYE. She knew it was wrong, but she felt no remorse for making this decision. Her heart was obviously hardened – and likewise with Adam as he also shared in the fruit. They then hid as now their eyes were opened. When God pulled them up, they shifted blame. In fact Adam even blamed God saying the woman YOU gave me! There was no repentance! Then of course they suffered the consequences – they were banished from the Garden and missed out on their intimacy with God.
It was spring, a time when the kings go to war. David sent his men and stayed behind. He didn’t go where he was supposed to go. Disobedience to God’s calling led him to have an idle mind. He had the time to look where he wouldn’t have been able to look if he was in the centre of God’s perfect will for his life. His eyes wandered… his flesh followed… He lusted and one sin led to another ultimately he had to face the consequence of losing his child. David finally repented – his heart was softened – and he made a U-turn in life. His past was forgiven and God called him a man after His own heart! His heart wasn’t willing but at least he later showed remorse and changed!
Another scenario… Jesus knew it was time for Him to face the torture, that the time had come for the ultimate purpose for His life on earth, to bear the suffering on the cross. He had done no wrong and He knew in detail what lay ahead of Him. The accounts of this time in the Garden of Gethsemane describe in much detail the agony He faced just thinking about it – He reacted physically and emotionally. Jesus was so low that an angel had to strengthen Him. Jesus told Peter, James and John that His heart was overwhelmed with sorrow and asked them to keep watch. ALL three fell asleep instead. Yet Jesus addressed only Peter,
“Simon”, He said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” – Mark 14:37.
This didn’t happen just once but THREE times. Jesus knew that Peter’s heart was in the right place (I’m not too sure why He didn’t say this to James and John, but I guess we can assume from that that Peter’s spirit was willing and perhaps not the case with the others) that the spirit was willing although his flesh wasn’t strong enough. Mind you these were the disciples who WALKED with Jesus for a few years and were with Him day in and day out. Mind you, John was the one Jesus loved. Peter was the one who was called the rock and it was to Peter that God gave the commission to look after HIS lamb and sheep.
It gives us hope when we falter that God sees what is really going on!
- How often have you done something that you know is wrong yet gone ahead with it?
- Reflect on the situations and ask yourself what your heart was like in those times. Was it hardened, was the spirit willing and the flesh weak, was there blame shifting after the fall or was there remorse and repentance?
God doesn’t see the appearances… God sees the heart and the motives. And then there are consequences accordingly. There is God’s grace too in such deep measures where the spirit is willing and where there is repentance. God longs for all of us to get back on the narrow path, it is not His desire for any of us to perish but sadly often we make choices that leads to the unfavourable consequences.
- On the other hand, how often have you experienced GRACE in levels that you know that you do not deserve?
- How often are you asking God for discernment to see other peoples’ hearts the way God is seeing it (the way He saw yours) and extending that GRACE to others or are you PUNISHING them for their weaknesses and failures?
Let us seek God in the way we love our neighbours – that God will give us discernment to know the situation each one is in – whether hearts are hardened and for us to then be as shrewd as a snake and walk away, whether hearts are repentant after the fall and thus for us to extend His grace and help them back to the narrow path and where the heart is willing but the flesh is weak where extend God’s love and support to overcome or whether it is a spiritual battle so we engage in spiritual warfare on behalf of each other.
Let our hearts not be hardened towards each other when God has extended His grace to us. Let us not categorise things into rigid boxes but let us be led by the Holy Spirit in every decision whether in our own life or how we reach out to others.
WATCH AND PRAY!