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So those who think they are standing need to watch out or else they may fall. No temptation has seized you that isn’t common for people. But God is faithful. He won’t allow you to be tempted beyond your abilities. Instead, with the temptation, God will also supply a way out so that you will be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:12-16
…..and Jesus said, “_(MY/YOUR NAME HERE)__, _(MY/YOUR NAME HERE)__, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren.” And he said, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” He said, “I tell you, _(MY/YOUR NAME HERE), the cock will not crow this day, until you three times deny that you know me.” Luke 22:31-34
Sleep has evaded me a lot lately. It is the result of stress. The kind that makes your head reel, your heart pound and your breath grow short. My proverbial cup runneth over – and it is not blessings that are oozing into the center of my being. I am in a season of sifting and it is literally touching all points of my life. I would like to take control and try to “fix” it all my way. Clearly, that is the heart of the problem. God’s sovereignty in my life is being challenged…by me. My control, my pride, my self-reliance – my denial, my, my…. I know better – God warns us all the time that Pride goes before the fall...hah – it was PRIDE (didn’t Adam and Eve know better than God?) that actually caused THE FALL (of mankind).
Sometimes a season of sifting in not just about the person (see Job), but it is about a bigger process that God is bringing us through. Sometimes tough times hit because God is trying to be heard…
When we are listening to anything but God’s leading and His will, we are setting ourselves up for a divine correction. Ouch. Jesus told his apostles that He prayed for them to be in this world, but not of it. He knew the hearts of men – (and women) and we are bent to self- destruct. We chase after all kinds of things – and replace God on the throne of our hearts.
One might argue then, well God made me this way – hell bent, so how can I be accountable? Really? Has God not also loved us so much that He created us with FREE WILL to choose the right over the wrong? I could argue that the things that I have chosen which have interferred with God’s sovereignty are all good things – family, job, service….
He wants our eyes on Him. Nothing else matters. In Luke 10:41-42[Jesus] said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; 42 but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
Apart from God (and His sovereign will in our lives) we can accomplish nothing that lasts. God raises up kings and tear’s them down from their thrones. Our God will not be mocked (Gal 6:7)…and there is a heavy price to pay when He is. Going our own way is part of that mocking – because we are saying to Him, “My will be done” rather than Thy Will Be done.
Uh hem….Reread the opening the scripture. “So those who think they are standing need to watch out or else they may fall. No temptation has seized you that isn’t common for people. But God is faithful. He won’t allow you to be tempted beyond your abilities. Instead, with the temptation, God will also supply a way out so that you will be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:12-16
If we ask for His help, when we close out the howling of the world and turn and listen for God’s whisper – it is THEN that He will make a way for us to turn away from temptation, from willful denial of His sovereignty in our lives. Jesus is praying for you…for me! Scripture tells us that where two or more come together there He will be also…it occurs to me since we know that the Holy Spirit prays for us in our weaknesses with groanings and utterings (Romans 8:26)- and Jesus is too – well THAT is TWO that has a great deal of influence on our Father God. Thank God!
My Bible study teacher has a saying, “Sin will take you farther than you wanted to go, keep you longer than you wanted to stay, and cost you more than you wanted to pay.”
Ain’t that the truth?!!
In past blogs, I have written about the importance of choosing in advance. Joshua said, As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. That is hard to do – in any century. But He is saying that HE made that choice – in advance….to serve the Lord. If we want to avoid our part in the season of sifting, we too must choose in advance. I am reminded of a Bob Dylan song that clarifies a 20th century view of this same things. There is literally nothing new under the sun.
We must choose this day, every day every minute to remove ourselves from situations, thoughts and actions that take our eyes off the prize…which is Jesus Christ our Lord. Even if it seems like they are “good things” at the time.
I am frequently reminding my young men (Thing 1 and Thing 2) that I pray that they will choose a wife who loves the Lord more than they love them. Sounds crazy right? But a wife (or a husband) who does is choosing to be subject to a higher authority – an arbitrator of the Holy court – God. It is His influence in our lives that keeps us from falling, from being hell – bent and from making unwise choices. It may not keep us out of a season of sifting, because God loves us too much to leave us as we are, but we will be able to stand the pressure.
A wise friend reminded me of this the other day…”Girl”, she said,”God’s word is true – He’s no liar…He may not take you out of this trouble, but He will surely see you through it….His word says that He will never leave us or forsake us…what can man do to you?”
So while I am being sifted I want to remember something – I am in God’s hands. The sands of my life, my experiences and my soul belong to Him. He is praying for me – that my faith will not fail and as I turn back to Him, I am to strengthen others.
Big breath – Ok God, I get it ..carry on. I trust YOU in this season of sifting…it is hard…but like Job, I look forward to restoration.
Amen and amen.