Sep. 10, 2020

 

Refusing God’s Help 

You may have asked God to give you His strength to deal with one sin or another over the years. God may have graciously given you His power to help you resist temptation on many occasions. But His power given at the moment is not something you can store up for other occasions. Like manna that spoils after one day, His power is more like the oxygen we take in. After a minute or two without oxygen, we begin to feel desperate for air. God wants us to be as desperate for Him as we are for the air we breathe, the food we eat and the water we drink. 

Because we are self-centered creatures, we tend to think of God as the Person Who helps us at our convenience only when we want His help. We may think of Him as a genie in a lamp. We want to bring Him out when we need Him and keep Him in a bottle when we don’t. We are not seeking God when we do this. We are seeking an imaginary god, a god of wishful thinking—an idol. The god of wishful thinking is not the God Who knocked Saul off his donkey on the Damascus Road or the One Who parted the Red Sea to allow the Chosen to escape from Pharaoh. The god of wishful thinking is as lifeless and as dumb as a box of rocks. 

Most guys will admit they don’t like to ask for help. And if they won’t admit it, their wives will remind them how many times they got lost because the “Pathfinder” said he didn’t need directions. By not seeking God for direction, we can get lost pretty quickly, especially in areas where we habitually sin. First, let’s be clear, our sins and character flaws are not hidden from God. King David’s wonderful psalm is a confession that we can’t hide from God. (Psalm 139)

 We don’t confess our sins before God to let Him know what we’ve been up to. We do it to admit to ourselves before God what we’ve been up to. Without God, we are wickedly self-deceptive. Sin makes us stupid. Think about it. Doesn’t your mind begin to shut down when you let your emotions or your passions take over? 

 Learning how to resist temptation is key to a Christian’s life. If you have habitual sin—be it drug or alcohol abuse, an addiction to pornography, using obscenities or profanity, unforgiveness or any other presenting sin—you may wonder why God hasn’t removed these things from your life. The short answer to that is, you don’t want Him to. God will freely give us strength we don’t have, but He will not give us what we refuse to receive. He will not break down a locked door.

If we repeatedly refuse to turn to Him when we need Him, the Lord will let us experience the consequences of our sin. But If we are weak or we are lost, we can become strong in Him if we ask Him. The world won’t help us, our own strength will fail us, but His strength and His grace are sufficient and never fail. 

Nevertheless, our failure to turn to God for help is all too common. We are not supposed to be of the world even if we’re in it, but we can fall prey to the temptation of letting our sinful natures take control over us. Our need for God is absolutely real but we tend to realize it only when we are humbled by something that overwhelms us.

Most of us don’t like to be as humble as befits our actual state. A proud man feels humiliated when someone criticizes him; a humble man listens and takes in the criticism, the rebuke or the lash without resentment. A proud man expects God’s blessings to arrive on his timetable. He is likely to think that God helps those who help themselves. A humble man waits patiently.

A good friend heads up a Bible study that I attend. We recently studied 1 John. If you are seriously interested in letting go of sinful activities or you want to compare your self-appraisal with the Word of God, 1 John is a good place to start.