I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad. Psalm 34:1-2
God is so good! In our moments of weakness, He provides and protects us from future consequences by telling us, “No or Not Now.”
Submission is not a trait that we are born with, nor is it a natural tendency. If you are a parent or had younger siblings, then you have first-hand knowledge of the developmental stage affectionately known as the “terrible twos.” And most remember going through the stage of raging rebellion, the “teen-age nightmare.” But suppose the child’s behavior is modified by initiating boundaries and disciplinary measures during these two defiant stages. In that case, they will develop into adults that not only accept and respect the answer of “No,” they also possess the character trait of self-control.
Our Heavenly Father knew that we would need individual spiritual gifts to maintain our connection with Him and to avoid falling into the temptation of sin.
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7 ESV
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV
Despite our diverse backgrounds, a change happens when we commit ourselves to God. This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17. As new persons-in-Christ, we cease the natural inclinations to follow our selfish desires or maintain a spirit of disobedience. Nor do we sulk or go outside of the will of God when we do not receive what we think is the best option.
When God created humanity, He gave us everything that we needed to serve Him: Free-will of choice, biblical instructions, prayer, a seed of faith, a sound mind, self-control, and the desire to stay connected to Him. But then we discovered that we could use our free-will to chase after our desires. Yes, we still believe in God. It’s just that we have developed the same condition that Cain possessed. We place our disobedient desires over what God requires for our sacrificial offering.
Yesterday, I heard a sermon excerpt from Dr. Tony Evans (this is paraphrased).
Parents used to buy their children a piggy-bank to teach them the concept of saving money. The piggy-bank was cute, pink and had a large body with a slot at the top. The bank was designed to receive money, not to give it back. Once the money went into the bank, there were two options to retrieve the money; turn the bank upside down and shake it until a few coins fell out or break open the bank. End of Excerpt
There are two types of Believers, those who almost always obey God and those who make it a habit to disobey and misuse repentance and forgiveness frequently. For the most obedient group, God disciplines by shaking us. We experience the unexpected consequences of our disobedience. We recognize that we went against the will of God; so, we repent and return to our previous state of having a sound mind, and self-control. Because we love God with all of our hearts, after the shaking, we humble ourselves. From that experience of shaking, we make the commitment to pray for direction and wait on God.
The second group also loves God, but they suffer inner turmoil because they continue to disobey God by pursuing their selfish desires. They are feeling great that they can serve God and still do as they please. But then the unthinkable happens, God opens His hands, the life-changing situation occurs, and they fall hard and break. All because they half-heartedly loved and served God by repeatedly disobeying. But if you refuse to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve…But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD. Joshua 24:15
The LORD is slow to anger and abounding in loving devotion, forgiving wrongdoing, and rebellion. But He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished; He visits the iniquity of the fathers upon their children to the third and fourth generation. Numbers 14:18
In the evening, reflect on your day. How many blessings have you received? The big blessings are probably very obvious. Even so, remember to include the little things that worked out in your favor. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23
With all that we receive from our loving Heavenly Father, He only requires the sacrifice to faithfully trust and obey Him. We must use our sound mind and self-control to stay within the will of God. “If you love me, obey my commandments.” John 14:15. Loving God and placing Him first is the foundation for seeking His will. Obedience is such a small sacrifice compared to the incredible love, grace, and mercies from God, our Father.
“For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,” says the Lord, “plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 AMP
We can never protect or provide for ourselves as God does. Some never think about the dangers, seen and unseen, that the angels, God’s messengers, defend us from every day. Nor do we realize the terrible consequences that God prevents when he says, “No, my child.” Today, begin to let praises of thanksgiving and gratitude openly flow from your mouth. Commit your free-will to always trust and obey God.
We are truly Blessed Beyond Measure!
Bible Reading: Psalm 34
God, we want to say thank you for all that you lovingly and freely bless us with day-after-day. We pray this prayer of thanksgiving in the Worthy Name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020, No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes without the author’s written permission.