Summary: Discusses how we actually pull against God to attempt to go our own way ot to get God to follow us.
Pulling Against God
When Elijah (Eli) was small, I would put him on a leash and take him out for walks (he’s the family’s lab). He hated going for walks and he hated the leash even more. We would start down the path and Eli would just sit down. I would pull the leash in an attempt to get him to follow but he was not having it. There were times when I had to pull the leash extremely hard, almost lifting him off the ground, to get him to walk. Eventually he learned to walk on a leash. During the days that he was learning, it was very frustrating taking him out on walks. Sometimes he would follow and sometimes he would just want to sit. Sometimes he would get so distracted he would just stop and sniff around in the grass. Today Eli weighs almost 90 pounds and he loves going for walks, although he still hates the leash. He no longer sits in an attempt to not go for a walk but instead he now tries to pull whoever is walking him in the direction he wants to go.
When my daughters were very young, we would take them out to the mall shopping. Since they were too small to walk in the mall by themselves and too big to carry, we had leashes that we had them on. Okay, I know what some of you are thinking, but these were actually for children and they did not go around the kids necks. These came in two forms, one that strapped around their wrists and one that was similar to a harness that strapped around their bodies. The leash enabled us to walk freely while keeping a close eye on our kids. Everything was fine until the day Clarissa figured out how to take the thing off. During the times they were able to walk with the leash, there were many times when we had to pull them because they wanted to go a different way than where we had planned. Just like Eli, there were also times when they tried to pull us in the direction that they wanted to go.
In both cases, the purpose of the leash was to keep the dog and the child under control and out of trouble. The leash was also used as a means to protect. It protected our dog from interacting inappropriately with other dogs or people’s yards and it allowed us to protect our girls while we were out in public places. We often use the term “keeping someone on a short leash” to indicate the level of supervision someone is under with the leash being indicative of what is being used to foster the control. In this message I want to examine the thought that God has us on a leash and that there are times when during our daily circumstances we find ourselves pulling against God to not go where He is trying to take us or trying to pull God in the direction that we want to go. I heard this saying a long time ago that I want to you remember as we go through this message: God will pull you through if you can stand the pull. This is the premise of this message today; God will pull us through this life if we can stand the pull. We pray and ask God to bring us through difficult situations but yet oftentimes we want Him to do it our way thus we begin pulling against Him. Then there are times when we are so set in the direction that we want to go that we attempt to pull God in our direction. This in effect becomes a spiritual tug of war. God pulling us one way and we’re resisting or we are pulling one way and God is resisting. Whether we are pulling against God to not go where He is taking us or we are trying to go our own way with His blessings, the results are the same. So the question is how do we come to a place where we are not pulling against God? I believe the only way we can restrain from pulling against God is through the total renewal of our minds which comes through knowledge of Him. In the first section of this message we will look at what it means to renew our minds and follow up with examples of what that actually looks like.
I. Renewing Our Minds
Our minds are the source of our thought processes. It is here in our minds that many battles are fought, won and lost. You see, the mind is a wonderful thing, capable of great feats of wisdom, power and inventions. Likewise this same mind that is capable of all of this wisdom, power and inventions is also able to think up the most awful things that can be done to an individual. It is within our minds that our destructive thoughts become a reality. Because of the power that resides within all of our minds, it has become one of the greatest battle grounds for both good and evil. God is pulling at us through our spirits and we are pulling against Him with our minds. Paul brings this to light when he writes in Romans 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”