“There, But for the Grace of God, Go I.”
My heart is grieved today.
Wait…It’s Christmas! Aren’t we supposed to be happy?!
Oh yes, for sure it is a season of thankfulness and rejoicing for what our Savior has done for us.
But I am also moved to tears.
Tears, for those who have forsaken the Lord. Grief, for those who did not stay the course. Sorrow, for those who did not endure to the end.
In a dream I had last night, I saw a friend who I knew years ago. I dreamed she came to see me for a visit, which caused me to think about her and pray for her in the night. She and I have taken very different paths, although our paths did cross for a few years. She is now studying for a career, and as far as I know is not faithful to church on a regular basis.
On Facebook, during phone conversations with family and friends, in the news, we are constantly hearing of Christians who have left the faith. A countless number of people every year choose the ways of the world in place of a relationship with Christ. Today, I saw another person who I know used to be in church, serving and worshipping the Lord, now serving her own desires and pleasures, and…
MY HEART IS GRIEVED
My heart is also humbled as I realize, that could just as easily have been me walking away from the Lord.
“There, but for the grace of God, go I.”
How easy it is to walk away! One little step can lead down the wrong path to a life ruined in sin’s mire. One wrong decision, one wrong thought, one wrong choice. It is not wrong to be tempted, even Christ was tempted. But when you choose to dwell on that temptation, you begin to think about it. If you do not choose to cast it down (2Corinthians 10:5), you will take the next step of action. And before you know it, as quick as a flash, you’re off the right path, and hurtling down a wrong path.
So I say to me, and I say to you: CHOOSE YOU THIS DAY WHOM YE WILL SERVE. (Joshua 24:15). The first step down the right path starts the same way as going down the wrong one – choice. Consciously choose the right path. Decide in your heart that you will follow God and His Word.
But all those people who ended up straying away from God first made that first choice also. So deciding to follow God is not enough. Sticking to that decision is an everyday battle. The life of following the Lord is a life of self-discipline as we consciously choose every day amid the hustle and bustle of life to glorify God and honor Him as our Holy, Heavenly Father. Paul struggled with this also. He said, “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” – 1 Corinthians 9:27. Paul lived with self-control as he faced life. He recognized that there would be things that would cause him to want to forsake of a life of devotion to God. Daily, he had to die to self.
It’s a conscious choice. You either live for God, or you live for self, but you cannot serve both simultaneously.
So yes, today, even during this Christmas season, I am grieved. My heart is heavy as I think of many who did not choose to continue on the right path.
And our Father’s heart is grieved as He watches His children walk away to ruin their lives in the waste of this world’s pleasures. He knows all too well the results of such actions. He has watched it happen time and time and time again. He is sorrowed, grieved, and hurt. Yet His hand is stretched out still to all those who would return to Him.
Today, take stock of your life. Is there anything in your life that would hinder your walk with the Lord? Rid yourself of anything and everything that would hinder your walk with the Lord. Find out what is clouding your view of your heavenly Father. Seek Him in every aspect of your life. Look for Him in the small things, as well as the big things. Choose to serve Him only and every day keep choosing.
Or perhaps you are one of the ones who has strayed. A compromise of convictions, a laxity in Christian service or church attendance. Only you know where you are in the path of life. Psalm 105:4 – “Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore.”
One last thought: remember, we do not only live our lives unto ourselves. Every decision we make will have an effect on those around us, whether we realize it or not.
Lord, today may I find grace in Your sight. Help me Lord to love You as I should. Help me to teach my children to have a love for You. And help me to stay faithful to the end. May my life point others to You and to Your Son. Instill in me a desire for You.
Today, please send the Holy Spirit again to speak to the hearts of those who have strayed from the right path. May they hear that inner voice, and turn to You again.