It is amazing how stubborn we can be when pursuing our own will for our lives instead of having our eyes open to see God’s will. It usually ends with us feeling like Balaam; foot crushed, plan stalled out, frustrated at our current situation, and unsure why our plan seems to be failing so miserably at the time!
There is beauty in simplicity when talking to new Christians or people that do not yet know Christ. Paul was not trying to give huge lessons on church doctrine. He simply told people that this Jesus character loved them so much that he willingly laid down his own life so that they might have eternal life. He told that that Jesus was God’s son, came down to earth, was crucified for our sins, and on the third day rose from the dead. He came willingly for you and me.
Frequently I am standing there with a staff and God invites me to strike the stone, but I hesitate. He invites me to strike the rock, but I still want to do it under my own power. I insist on turning to other distractions to fill up my cup instead of turning to him.
Having authors, pastors, and speakers that you really connect with is not a bad thing and God has the ability to use these people to help draw you closer to him. That is the role of people called to ministry in different forms! However, when we start to trust any one given voice above the words of the Bible, it becomes a very dangerous proposition indeed.
As marketplace missionaries one of the most critical things we need to be effective reaching others of the Kingdom is God is having our own feet on solid ground when it comes to what Jesus actually taught. If we are off chasing false images of Christ given to us by these conmen that Paul describes, then the Jesus we are introducing others to will be not be Jesus at all.
If you read any self help article online today entitled “5 things you need to stop doing to be happier” or “7 habits to kick in 2017” or “I stopped doing these 10 things and became so much happier!” one of the most common items I read is to stop spending time with people that drain you. Remove relationships from your life that seem to bring you down. Stop spending time with those people who are just hard to be around!
Whenever I read about the Israelites in the Old Testament I am always struck by what a group of whiners they are! Here is a group of people that were rescued from slavery and yet they complain about anything and everything. How quickly they seem to forget what Egypt was like! They conveniently forget backbreaking labor from sun up to sun down, being beaten and whipped, and having their male children killed in an attempt to suppress their growing population.
Reading passages like this one in Psalms is such a welcome and necessary reminder. The money we make and the things we acquire in this life are all so incredibly temporary. We are but a breath. However, with that breath we have all been given here on earth, we have also been given the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others that, along with helping their lives here and now, will also last for an eternity!
It is not about what we are “allowed to do now” because of our new found faith. As a Christian our chief mission in life is to share the good news and help others come to saving faith in Jesus as well. To this end Paul challenges us to not put stumbling blocks in front of others. He challenges us to stop thinking about ourselves so much when it comes to these issues and rather to ask ourselves whether our actions are going to act as a catalyst to bring someone to faith or potentially push them away.