Monday, August 24, 2009

Turn You and Take Your Journey

As Christians, we are commanded to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior. The thing about growing is that it includes change, movement, and often pain. When babies get teeth, they have a multitude of symptoms. Youths suffer through “growing pains.” And we, as Christians, if we are growing, must also endure difficulties as we grow. The biggest difference between our growing pains and those that children and youths incur is that we can choose not to grow. When things become too difficult we can, as many Christians do, reject growing and just find a comfort zone and stay there. That’s why there are so many more folks at church on Sunday mornings than on Sunday nights, its why churches all over America have just a small percentage of folks that go soul winning; its why pastors drop standards that once were held even in the public school system. If you can imagine that not that long ago things that many churches allow, even embrace, were against public school rules in the 70’s! The saying may be, “You’ve come along way, Baby,” but in truth, it’s a long way down or backwards.

(Deuteronomy 1:6-7, says, “[6] The LORD our God spake unto us in Horeb, saying, Ye have dwelt long enough in this mount:
[7] Turn you, and take your journey, and go to the mount of the Amorites, and unto all the places nigh thereunto, in the plain, in the hills, and in the vale, and in the south, and by the sea side, to the land of the Canaanites, and unto Lebanon, unto the great river, the river Euphrates.”) When we get saved, we turn from unbelief to belief; we turn from works to grace; we turn from hell to heaven. So you could say that when we get saved, we have a change of direction or turn and begin our journey as born again believers, as children of God; as Christians. As such we are commanded to grow in grace, we should continue to take steps upward towards becoming Christlike. But sometimes we become stagnant. We reach a plateau and then we kind of just stop and take in the view. If we are not careful that kind of sight seeing may lead us to look at where we came from instead of to where we are headed

Today, I would like us to take a look at what caused these obstacles in the children of Israel and then how to overcome them.
1. Loneliness- Deuteronomy 1:9, 12- Being an independent, fundamental Christian may at times feel very lonely. You may feel alone, because everybody else (it seems)does things the Holy Spirit has convinced you that God hates.
2. Discouragement- Deuteronomy 1:28- The task at hand (reaching the lost) feels enormous and at times overwhelming, now add loneliness on top of that and one can easily feel discouraged.
3. Fear- Deuteronomy 1:29- Often times, we become afraid- afraid that we will lose our friends, afraid that we won’t accomplish our goals, afraid that we are on our own, or afraid that we’ll be viewed as weird.

Now if you will notice, all of these hindrances of growth are caused by stopping and looking around and back, indicating a lack of faith. God has an answer for these hindrances to growth. After the children of Israel and Moses, their leader, had experienced loneliness, discouragement, and fear- in their case, regarding possessing the promised land - here is the formula that can help prevent hindrances to your growth.

1. Deuteronomy 4:9, “Take heed to thyself diligently, lest thou forget…” Christians don’t grow and turn back to the world, because they forget what God has done for them.
2. Deuteronomy 4:15-16, “Take good heed unto yourselves lest ye corrupt yourselves.” People become careless about what they expose themselves to and become corrupted by wrong influences.
3. Deuteronomy 4:23, “Take heed unto yourself lest ye forget the covenant of the Lord thy God which He made with you.” Be careful to remember the promises and conditions of the promises that God gave you.

If we neglect to take heed as instructed it will lead to idolatry or “bowing down” to something you can see rather than following the Lord by faith.

So when you are trying to accomplish something for God and you think you’re alone- take heed, remember God is with you.

And when you want to bow down to discouragement, you are allowing yourself to be corrupted by this world…- take heed.

And when you want to bow down to fear, remember God’s promises to you. "Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the LORD he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else. Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, for ever." Deuteronomy 4:39, 40

So Christian, don't just stand there... “Ye have dwelt long enough in this mount… turn you and take your journey…”

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