We often miss the good things God is doing in our lives because they are so normal we fail to see them. I drove home last night from a meeting without incident. It took about 40 minutes and I usually…
It is no secret that all of us battle with the passions in our soul. God gave us these powerful desires to give us momentum for life. When this fervor is focused on productivity, an intense relationship with Jesus and the development of practical righteousness, it is a good friend. When it is focused on self-gratification, self-sufficiency and self-indulgence, it becomes a cruel master that leads to addictions, short-sighted decisions and complications beyond repair. Examples abound, most recently the former Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who kept the news of a child born out of wedlock a secret for 10 years. Just this week, it caught up with him resulting in the painful and very public separation of his long term marriage with Maria Shriver. He is another example of a man who competed intensely, served the public for years but didn’t have the secret to keep his passions focused on positive pursuits.
The battle cry that helps us humbly keep our zeal directed is much different than the self-sufficient battle cry of the proud.
“The Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh had 44,760 men ready for military service—able-bodied men who could handle shield and sword, who could use a bow, and who were trained for battle. They waged war against the Hagrites, Jetur, Naphish and Nodab. They were helped in fighting them, and God delivered the Hagrites and all their allies into their hands, because they cried out to him during the battle. He answered their prayers, because strong>they trusted in him. (1 Chronicles 5:18-20). These warriors cried out to God in the midst of the battle and put their trust in His power to deliver them rather than rely on their own abilities. It wasn’t that they passively dismissed their responsibility, after all they were well trained soldiers actively involved in the battle. They were just humble enough to invite God into the middle of the struggle rather than asking Him to be a spectator to their achievements. As a result, they were delivered.
In contrast, there was another group of men, Epher, Ishi, Eliel, Azriel, Jeremiah, Hodaviah and Jahdiel with a very different outcome. (1 Chronicles 5:24-26) “They were brave warriors, famous men, and heads of their families. But they were unfaithful to the God of their ancestors and prostituted themselves to the gods of the peoples of the land, whom God had destroyed before them. So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria (that is, Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria), who took the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh into exile.” They were self-sufficient, self-reliant and sent into exile. They tried just as hard as the first group of men but they lacked the strength to overcome.
As I face the battles of my life today, I am going to practice crying out to God with an invitation to be right in the middle of the competition.