I learned a tough lesson this week, but God proved Himself ever Faithful! There are “Christian” ministries out there with people who claim to know and love Jesus, but when faced with Truth, people who have been wandering off of God’s path, will stubbornly dig in their heels, and refuse to budge. They refuse to invite Jesus into the middle of a controversy, and insist on being in charge. Unwillingness to follow Jesus, makes a familiar, well-beaten worldly path look easier, when God’s Word tells us the path to Him is narrow and difficult to find. ” ‘Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matt. 7:13-14 New International Version).
Truth: Only when Jesus is invited into the middle of our relationships, ministries, and lives; will we be able to reap the benefits of his compassionate grace, mercy, and forgiveness. Sometimes there is a biblically based need for placing boundaries in order to protect our safety or well-being. Other times, we may try to mend a situation several times, without success, which results in the inability to reconcile. In these cases, we forgive in Christ, and move on. But, when Christians turn their backs on genuine brothers and sisters in Christ, who come bringing truthful messages meant to save people, help them grow, and steer them onto the right path; it is the same as turning their backs on Jesus and his message. People living in lies tend to become uncomfortably stubborn; clapping their hands over their ears, shouting at the top of their lungs at the same time; doing anything to shut out the truth. Refusing to listen to a messenger sent by God to help people avoid heartache, danger, and deceit; is the same as refusing to listen to Jesus. It is to reject God’s own Son. ” ‘Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me’ ” (Luke 10:16).
People like this may indeed be saved, and headed towards Heaven, but they aren’t walking the straight and narrow path that Jesus walks. They step off a little to the left, so they can allow in a small lie here, or a small lie there. They stumble to the right, so they can promote their religion or cause in the name of Jesus, yet he can barely be found among it, if at all. They might even fall completely off the precious path, because they’ve been blinded by pride. If they don’t make their way back, they stand as hypocrites do, preaching to people to walk the path, as their own feet walk in a different direction, all while leading others to destruction. For God’s Word says: “Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil” (Prov. 4: 26-27 New International Version).
“Why yes, yes there were,” said God. I humbly realized He wouldn’t have allowed me to be in a situation, without giving me warnings. So I asked my God to show me the good that could come of this situation. I asked Him why I had allowed myself to become distracted again, by what I had perceived to be a “good Christian cause.” He gave me these words I’ve penned, and He revealed several truths; some of which were revealed through my family members:
Truth: “You need to spend your time wisely; it is part of learning to be compassionate to yourself.
Truth: “Not every work with God’s name on it, is really God’s work, though some of My truth may be there. I can work My glory through anything, but that doesn’t mean I want you there.”
But I thought I knew this! I don’t usually jump to get involved.
“No, my child, you did not yet quite understand. For you rushed in, and you didn’t listen to the still small voice; your own voice, that told you something was wrong. You didn’t listen to your still small voice telling you, that you’d decided on doing only certain things assigned by Me, but then you took on something else. You consulted me, but were impatient in waiting for my reply. You also didn’t remove yourself from the situation earlier, as I waved red warning flags before you. You forgot to check in with me, until push came to shove. You didn’t get out when you realized you were behind in the ministry I gifted you with; the path which I’ve assigned you to walk. You got distracted. Yet, even though you waited until the last minute, I’m not only going to help you, I’m going to make a brand new and better thing from it all!”
Truth: God wants me to only do just what He asks me to do.
Truth: God believes in me, and loves me, and has given me my very own ministry!
Truth: If I help somebody else with their mission, and it even slightly deviates from the path of my own mission (where Jesus shines first and foremost ALL the time) then God doesn’t want me in that other place!
Truth: Getting involved in a ministry which does not fully align with God’s truths He has revealed to me; may distract, delay or even bring my own ministry to a halt.
Truth: It doesn’t matter if anyone stands with me as I go forward; it only matters that God is standing beside me.
Truth: God gives me the people I need most to support and encourage me along the way; no more, and no less. And I am never, ever alone. “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us” (Rom. 8:31)?
I’d been distracted and rejected, but not dejected. The experience of having been treated badly was nothing when compared to the relief of knowing you are headed back onto the exact path God has laid out just for YOU; that place where you find peace and joy and comfort in knowing you’re using your gifts in just the right way God intended!
Truth: The silver lining is seen by those walking the path of Truth, because in walking true, the lies are easily trampled under our feet! For Jesus says, “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you” (Luke 10:19). When you walk the steep and narrow path, you’re not afraid of the sharp incline that lies ahead, because God will lend you His own strong hand, and He will pull you up to the mountain top! As you stand there hand in hand with Jesus, he will look down at you proudly, and smile. I can’t wait to look up into his shining face, and nod, saying, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim.4:10).
Prayer: God please forgive me for when I stumble off of the path you created just for me. Help me to follow Jesus and not get distracted. Jesus, I love you! Hold my hand; I don’t want to let go of you!
“I have decided to follow Jesus…
No turning back, no turning back…
Though I may wander, I still will follow…
No turning back, no turning back…
The world behind me, the cross before me…
No turning back, no turning back…
Though none go with me, still I will follow…
No turning back, no turning back.
Will you decide now to follow Jesus?”
Lyrics attr. S. Sundar Singh