This devotional is a lesson in forgiveness, and I’m the lead illustration.
I’m sorry! I know that, for many of you, reading this daily devotional is one of the first things you do in the morning. For the last several days, I’ve been traveling to the west coast of the United States. My wife and I went to watch our son compete in a world championship. (He did quite well !!!) Because I’ve been on Pacific Time, the devotional has been published late every day. Including today. So, I’m sorry. Truly I am.
I’ve realized that I had let habit dictate delivery. As many of you know, my typical routine is to arise quite early in the morning, spend time in prayer and Bible reading, and then come to my office and write the devotional for that day. I never know the topic of the devotional until I actually begin my prayer time, and sometimes not even until I sit down at my computer to write the title. I often find that the tile and the scripture verse unlock the message for the day.
But, as I said, I’ve let habit become the master. God has convicted me that I’ve begun to rely upon the pattern, not the Lord. He is quite capable of giving me two, three, for or more devotionals if I allocate the time to listen. I am quite capable of uploading them so that they are published at the proper time. I repent of this reliance upon habit, and will re-focus upon a true reliance upon the Lord.
Of course, I’m not the first person who’s been caught in the “we’ve always done it this way before” trap. Moses, the mighty man of God who led the people of Israel out of Egypt also made the list. When the nation needed waster as they wandered in the desert, God told Moses to strike a large rock with his staff. When Moses obeyed, the rock split and water sufficient for hundreds of thousands of people and livestock came gushing out. In a similar instance, God instructed Moses to SPEAK TO THE ROCK and command water to come out. But Moses was frustrated with the Israelites (and perhaps a bit frustrated at God, as well) and so he disobeyed, let his temper rule his actions, and struck the second rock. That was a costly lesson for Moses! If you’re unfamiliar with it, message me and I’ll share more details with you.
Simon the sorcerer made the same “God has always worked this way before” error. So did the apostles James and John, the “Sons of Thunder.”
And so have you.
Since today’s devotional is late (again!!!) I’m going to give you a double lesson. Just think of it as a “Sunday two-for-the-price-of-one” deal” or a blessed BOGO. (Except that you don’t really have to “buy” one, but you get the idea.)
We all tend to put God in convenient boxes. Some of them may come from our childhood, others from societal expectation, or any number of places. Part of the boxes may be good, other parts less so. Either way, these boxes can become habitual, they can rob us of relational joy. Letting ANY relationship fall into a rut of similar expectation can ruin it. Relationships are intended to be shared experiences of discovery. I know couples, for example, that have been married for over fifty years; and they kept their relationship vibrant.
So, too, with God. Perhaps you’ve allowed your relationship with Him to grow a bit stale. Possibly you’ve let the habit of church become rote. Liturgy is neither alive nor dead; liturgy is expressed and experienced by people who are in relationships with The Almighty that are either alive or dead, vibrant or stale. It is a wise person who asks themselves “Is my faith in Christ as vibrant and strong as it should be?” If not, then it is a wiser person still who asks God and people who’s walk of faith IS vibrant and strong how to get from where they are to where they ought to be.
Let God out of the box you’ve placed Him in, and He’ll impact your life, your relationships, and your spirit in ways you could never imagine.
We all fall short, and we all miss the mark as we walk out our lives. We offend and we fail. And when we do, we ought to apologise and ask forgiveness. While that may or may not restore an earthly relationship; your Heavenly Father is always ready to forgive those who are truly repentant. He models what He calls us to. He is always willing to forgive us when we come to Him, admit our failures and ask for His grace as we seek to walk in accordance with HIs will and His word.
Actually, these two lessons are intertwined. Letting God out of HIs box and into your life will reveal areas which require repentance and change.
God is waiting for you to open the door of your life to Him and enter into a new and vibrant stage of your relationship.
He’s knocking. Will you open your heart to Him and invite Him in?