Saturday, November 2, 2013

Blue Lights

I'm grabbing my keys, my purse, and running out the door.  I throw my things into the passenger seat, and throw the car in reverse.  I tear out of the driveway and gun it to the stop sign at the end of my road.  Once on the main road I push the accelerator, knowing I'm late....and thinking that maybe I can make up some time.  I'm watching the clock and my speedometer creep up as my stomach drops because a blue light shines out of my mirror.  NO!!  I don't have the time...or money...for this!!

As I'm driving away from the police cruiser, I feel totally deflated.  My ticket, with it's heavy fine, is laying beside me and I dread bringing it through the door and admitting it happened.  Why?  Do a gut check with me.  If this has happened to you, do you hate it happened because you loathe the fact that you were speeding, which you clearly know is illegal....or do you hate it happened because you got caught and the repercussions of getting caught?  

If you're like me, it's most likely because I got caught...because it's going to make me uncomfortable.  It's not going to feel good having to pay that money and tell my spouse that I got a ticket.  It's not going to feel good if this ticket causes my insurance to go up, causing me to pay more money to the insurance company each month.  

So if you're like me, and the reason you hate it happened was because of the repercussions, then we're completely missing the point.

This is what happened to the Israelites.  If you read my last post you remember talking about the Israelites and how they were wondering around in the desert.  Now, in Numbers 14, they had actually made it to the promised land that God had told them about, they had sent spies into the land to scope it out, and then they had decided that it was to scary to do as God told them to do.  They decided they would NOT go into the Promised land.  At this point God is fed up with them and tells Moses he is done with these people and how they continually do their own thing and reject Him.  He tells them that there will now be consequences for their disobedience.  Once Moses relays this message, the people freak out and change their tune.  They now decide that they will go into the promised land and take it as God had told them to do earlier.  The only problem is that God is not with them in this expedition, and therefore they are defeated on a grand scale.

God said go take the promised land - People say, "No, too scary...we'll do things our way."              
God says don't go into the promised land - People say, "We will go conquer the promised land on our own!" 

(Does this sound familiar to any parents out there???)

What in the world made these people act this way?  (Maybe a few fries short of a Happy Meal??)  I want to grab these people out of the Old Testament, shake them and tell them to get a clue.  Then I get a clue.  They disobey because they are stubborn and think they know better than God.  So God says, " wanna do things your way?  Then here are your consequences."  The people see the consequences and they change their tune.  Which brings us back to the question we asked earlier about our ticket - are the people sad enough to change their mind because they loathe their sin of being disobedient or because they don't want to deal with the consequences?  It would seem they only change because of the consequences that they hear are coming.  

This is what we do too often.  We do things our way, over and over and over...until we get ourselves into a crap ton of mess...and then we cry out to God.  We wonder why in the world He would let our life turn into this.  Sometimes we even get MAD at God.  Like it's his fault.  After all the anger, we usually eventually feel sorry.  We are sorry for the mess we've created.  Maybe we work to fix the mess or maybe God, in his infinite mercy, fixes it for us.  And then we're happy campers...because life is good again.  

But...where was the mourning over our sin?  Where in the process did we name our sin...the sin that caused the whole mess.  The sin that causes God so much sadness.  The sin that claimed the life of his son.  Where in the process did we apologize to God and ask him to help us change?  

If we skipped that step, then we missed it.  

But!  Take heart, because there is hope.  There is always hope with God, which is an amazing thing about being a Christ-follower.  If you're reading this, then it's not too late to go back and do that ever important step.  It may even be that you just don't feel remorse over your sin.  Ask God to help you understand what your sin is.  Name it.  Call it out.  Confess it to someone you trust, and take away its power over you.  Spend some time realizing the weight of sin's effect on you and those around you. (Because you know our sin never effects just us, right?)  

Then comes the best part...

Once you've truly understood the weight of that sin that God is going to help you've truly mourned it having any place in your life...then comes joy.  And it's so sweet.  So refreshing.  

So do it right now.  Ask God to show you your sin.  Confess that you messed up and it hurt you, God, and those around you.  Realize the weight of it, but then throw it off.  Cast it onto the cross where it's dealt with once and for all and then be done with it.  Lay down the sin and pick up the joy.

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