Monday, August 15, 2011
Today’s Topic: No Turning Back
Today’s Text: Isaiah 50:5 The Sovereign LORD has opened my ears, and I have not been rebellious; I have not drawn back.
This morning I woke up a little later than usual. By the time I got out to the living room and sat down to listen to the Lord and start my day it was already light out and the sun was peaking over the horizon. I opened up my wife’s laptop and the main page came up – Facebook. There, as the first entry on the page, was a post from a good friend in the church. It was his contribution to my spiritual walk. He posted his Bible verses for the day. My ears were open and ready.
After refreshing myself with the wisdom of Proverbs 3, especially verses five and six, I turned over to First Corinthians 2:11-13. In case you don’t take the time to follow the link and read them, here they are in the New Living Translation:
No one can know what anyone else is really thinking except that person alone, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. 12And God has actually given us his Spirit (not the world’s spirit) so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. 13When we tell you this, we do not use words of human wisdom. We speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths.
The Lord opened my ears. Just think of the truth in those verses. Our human rational thought process is incapable of knowing God and His plans for us. But He has given us His Spirit so we can know Him and know what He desires for us. We can know what God thinks of us. That’s simply amazing.
Then, as if that’s not enough, His Spirit also qualifies us to teach the spiritual truths to others.
Last week a friend posted this on Facebook – God does not call the qualified, but rather He qualifies the called. My ears were open to that as well. I wonder how many of us are not doing what God has planned for us because we don’t think we are qualified? How many people are eliminated from our prospect lists because we don’t think they are qualified? How many more servants of Jesus would become strong leaders for Jesus if we realized that He has called them and that we are the ones to help qualify them?
We are all called to be teachers of spiritual truth. But if we are going to do that, our key verse today from Isaiah must be understood. In that verse God says there are two ways that we become unqualified for helping others with the spiritual truths God has given us:
- We rebel against God. The word here means open, contentious disobedience. Some people are like that. They try to follow God, but when things don’t go according to their own desires and plans, they openly reject God and rebel against Him. Attitudes and actions like that keep us from teaching spiritual truths to others because we have become unteachable by the Holy Spirit.
- We draw back from God. This is where I think many of us struggle, and our biggest struggle is with the denial that it’s even happening. The Hebrew word used here means to move away, turn back, and backslide. Every time we step off the path of God and onto a path of our own making we are guilty of drawing back from God (Psalm 44:18). Every time we ignore what God has taught us and don’t apply it to our lives, we have drawn back from God. And even though we think it’s not really that serious, it is to God, and the punishment for drawing back is the same as for worshipping false gods. To be sure, read Zephaniah 1:4-6.
God has graciously saved us. He has filled us with His Spirit who teaches us all the spiritual truths we need for an abundant life of service to His Son. But we have drawn back into a comfort zone of culturally-defined Christianity. It is time for us to ask the Lord to once again open our ears, and to pledge to Him that we will not rebel, and that we will not draw back.