Not That Way!

Not a Trail

After last week’s article Follow Me to The Place I Will Show You, I thought I would tell you of a time I didn’t do what God asked. I hope it will speak to you if you are struggling to say yes.


No, that doesn’t make sense. I can’t be hearing you right.

I stood in the cold near a homeless girl who sat under her makeshift shelter, arguing with God.

Take your coat off and give it to her.

I hesitated. I ran through all the reasons, justifying my reluctance and His faulty thinking in the situation. I walked away, coat still on my back.

If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them. James 4:17

Tears started to flow but I kept walking, her face etched in my mind. But this story is not about the young woman or her poverty, but me and my choices. That night, I rejected God’s words and chose mine instead. I didn’t trust Him or His wisdom in the situation. I chose not to do the good I ought to do. I chose to sin.

What comes to mind when you think of sin?
Transgression, ungodliness, evil?

Sin means any reprehensible or regrettable action, behavior, or lapse; especially a willful or deliberate violation of some religious or moral principle. This definition doesn’t sound so devilish, but he is in the details. He is all about tempting us into sin knowing full well it is what separates from God. It is his mission in our lives.

When I look at all the actions that come with the definition of sin, lapse is the one at times that is the hardest to come to grips with. Jesus says, “If you love me, you obey my commandments.” (John14:15) We get the thou shall nots, the things to avoid when we are living our lives according to God’s ways. But it is those thou shall dos that sometimes trip us up.

The original translation of the word sin—hamartia— means loss or forfeiture because not hitting the target. It is the brand of sin that emphasizes its self-empowered nature. Willfulness comes to mind here. Sort of like when I said no to God’s prompting and walked away. I didn’t just miss the target. I aimed for something in the opposite direction. I chose what I wanted above God.

I have often thought of the time I said no. It has shaped how I now respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. I want yes to be on my lips and in my actions even when things don’t make sense. I want God to know that I love Him by doing what He tells me to do.

Being a grandparent has some pretty great perks. One comes from my four-year-old granddaughter, Brielle. All through the day, she runs to where I am, wraps her arms around me, and says, “Grandma, I love you.” Then off she goes again to continue playing. It melts my heart. I can’t help but think God is the same way. I picture our yeses to acts of kindness, service, and compassion—those love your neighbor moments—as a great big hug and an I love you to God. His response may sound a bit like this—

‘Well done, good and faithful servant!”

Matthew 25:23 NIV

I love you, too.


Have you ever found yourself reasoning with God on whether you should follow His command? How did that go for you? What did it reveal in your life?

6 Comments Add yours

  1. I have some of those regrettable moments of disobedience tucked in my memory, too. How they haunt me! The hard thing for me is letting go of the shame. Yes, they serve as a reminder of the pain of sin – a good thing. But they are also forgiven, wiped from God’s slate. Yet, Satan keeps dredging them up and accusing me with them. “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” Thank you, Jesus!

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  2. I have several of those moments as well. The one that made a huge impression on me happened when I was in college. I was in a hurry and, as I ran into a store, I saw a woman huddled against the rain. When I came out, she told me that her ride to work hadn’t shown up and asked if I take her. I explained that I was in a hurry and left. As I drove my car down the street, God started knocking on my head. I knew I was supposed to give her a ride but I rationalized that I was too far away to have the time to go back. The knocking continued and, eventually, I turned around and went to get her. Yes, I was late to my appointment but the look of gratitude on her face was well worth it. I don’t always listen but God reminds me of that blessing and I’m more aware of the angels among us.

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  3. Your granddaughter sounds so much like Virginia, who is always telling us how much she loves us. What a blessing!
    And your reflection here, Patty, spoke right to my heart. I’m worn out as I’ve been staying with my mom for two weeks helping her get through some medical issues. There were times that I really didn’t want to hand over my “coat” and have been in prayer about it. God is so good and is helping me to see my shortcomings, and rely on Him.
    Blessings!

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  4. tadunn says:

    Patty, this is a great post that leaves us with a lot to think about. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. Oh yes: “It is those ‘thou shall do’s that sometimes trip us up.” Mostly because obedience comes not from a list but from listening. (Oh, I love alliteration–that one just came to me!)

    Liked by 1 person

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