Not That Way!
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?