Thursday, 22 October 2015

Turn away? ..... Not on your life!

“My people are determined to turn from me. Even though they call me God Most High, I will by no means exalt them.”
Hosea 11:7 NIV

No one who calls themselves a Christian is ever likely to say 'Yep, today I am determined to turn from God, that's my ambition' 

But, as I have experienced in my own life, it is something we can so easily 'slip into'

Without actually consciously deciding or admitting to it,we can find ourselves beginning to live, act or speak in ways that indicate we are, nonetheless, set on a course diametrically opposed to our Father. This is one of the subtleties of the work of the enemy. It is as if, once given the smallest foothold in our lives, our direction of travel is slowly tweaked and turned and in our own mind we either do not realise it or, more likely, we begin to justify it and confirm to ourselves that we are actually doing what God wants rather than exhibiting a determination to turn from Him. 

At this point it becomes Enemy 1 : Christian 0

Eph 4:27 tells us not to give the devil a foothold, or to give him no opportunities in our lives or, in certain translations, not to make any room for him in our lives.

This implies that it is down to us to ensure we do not, by giving him access, start to turn from God.

How might we give him space, room to manoeuvre in our lives ? 

Basically by living, acting or thinking according to his nature and character rather than according to God's. By choosing, in areas of our lives, to march to his tune rather than keeping in step with the Holy Spirit, (Gal 5:25)

It's all about our state of heart and mind....

In 1 Cor 2:16 we are told an amazing truth: "we have the mind of Christ'

One of the incredible privileges of the children of God is that we can think as Jesus did - have the same outlook and attitude.

We are told in Philippians 2:5, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” Which means we are to consciously direct our minds to think as Jesus thought - in other words 'to have the same attitude as Christ Jesus' (Phil 2:5)

The state of our mind is directly related to the state of our heart which in turn is a directly affected by the quality, closeness and intimacy of our relationship with Jesus. 

There are so many subtle effects as we slide slowly away from our Father - we no longer spend quality time with Him, we always find or justify a reason not to, there is always something more important. Ultimately we persuade ourselves that 'doing things for Him' is a higher priority than 'spending time with Him'

As our heart slowly loses connection with His heart so our mind loses the ability to discern what is of Him and what is not - we no longer 'let our mind be that which was in Christ Jesus'  

We operate in the borderlands of being in His will then out of it, but in our increasingly self justified state we are less able to tell the difference.... 

We become hard hearted, we display less of the fruit of the Spirit, very few if any of His gifts, we can become two people ( evident to those closest to us) and the life giving 'quality time' we had with Jesus has either become a dry duty or disappeared altogether. Although this becomes a bit of an open secret because, to others who are in close relationship with Jesus, it eventually stands out like a flashing red warning light..... as we display our determination to turn from Him.

However, God has give a sure and certain remedy : Godly sorrow brings repentance (2 Cor 7:10) which gives rise to immediate restoration - even as the prophet says : 'restoring the years the locusts have eaten' (Joel 2:25)

Do our lives, actions, attitudes or words give away a determination to turn away from God or a determination to 'seek His heart'?