Summary: Beware Satan will do whatever he can to destroy the working of God’s grace in your life. We live in a society where our personal relationship with Jesus Christ is under constant attack.
Beware Satan will do whatever he can to destroy the working of God’s grace in your life. We live in a society where our personal relationship with Jesus Christ is under constant attack. Satan is a deceiver and if he cannot tempt you with the temporary pleasures of sin, or convince you are of no use to God, he will use the influences of the world to keep you distracted, off-balance and stretched in so many directions you can get little done for the Lord. I fear if Jesus were to examine some of us this morning as he did the fig tree in Jerusalem he would find nothing but leaves where fruit should be expected. Ask yourself this question: “Did I find it difficult to spend time in God’s Word last week? Does it seem when I pray there are constant interruptions? Do I seem to spend less time meditating on the Glory of God and the wonder of His Grace?” Subtle it may be but the influence of the world can draw our focus away from the One Critical need that matters most: our relationship with Jesus Christ. Tomorrow public school resumes in Leon County with its impact on teachers, parents and students. Many of us will be back on the treadmill of “busyness” and weeks filled with distractions. So I want to talk with you this morning about how we can rise above these influences that may appear rationale, feasible and even justifiable on the surface - and live our lives for Christ in a world that desperately need Him and yet is pulling us in the opposite directions.
Listen to what Oswald Chambers says in his devotional book, My Utmost for His Highest concerning our personal relationship with Jesus Christ:
“As Christians we are not here for our own purpose at all— we are here for the purpose of God, and the two are not the same. We do not know what God’s compelling purpose is, but whatever happens, we must maintain our relationship with Him. We must never allow anything to damage our relationship with God, but if something does damage it, we must take the time to make it right again. The most important aspect of Christianity is not the work we do, but the relationship we maintain and the surrounding influence and qualities produced by that relationship. That is all God asks us to give our attention to, and it is the one thing that is continually under attack.”
As I read Chambers writings I recalled the story of Mary and Martha in Luke chapter 10. Mary listened to the Lord’s word, seated at his feet. But Martha, distracted with all her preparations, came up to Jesus and said, Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me. Jesus responded in Luke 10:41-42: “… and said to her “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only a few things are necessary, really only one, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
This is “one thing” or “the good part, which shall not be taken away” which Jesus mentions in Luke 10 and this most important aspect of Christianity Oswald Chambers references in his writing is what we want to focus on in the next few minutes. As Chambers says, “It is not in the work we do but the relationship we maintain with Him (meaning Jesus Christ) that results in the good part, which shall not be taken away.” Having studied Jeremiah’s prayer in Jeremiah 10:23-34, I believe the prophet had a deep understanding of this one critical need in his life. Listen to his prayer: “I know, O Lord, that a man’s way is not in himself; Nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps. Correct me, O Lord, but with justice; Not with Thine anger, lest Thou bring me to nothing.” (Jeremiah 10:23-24)
Jeremiah’s declaration in verse 23 is found in the words “I know”. But what did Jeremiah know? He knew a man’s way was not to be found in himself nor did man have the power to direct his own steps in this world. He realized from his own poverty as each of us need to do his need to be totally dependant upon the Lord and not himself if he was to overcome the draw of worldly influences and grow in his relationship with the Lord. He knew his own power and resources he could not obtain the good part which shall not be taken away.
The Hebrew word Jeremiah uses for “know” is the Hebrew word “yada”. It is the same word used in Jeremiah 1:5 where the Lord says to Jeremiah: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.” “Yada” goes deeper than mere intellectual knowledge. It is awareness of truth that comes from a deep personal involvement in the life of another – it is the difference between an acquaintance and an intimate relationship - the same word used in Genesis 4:1 for the relationship between husband and wife – “And Adam knew Eve his wife and she conceived and bare Cain…” Thus with the word “yada” knowledge and relationship are terms that are used interchangeably. It implies an intimate personal knowledge involving body, mind and soul that brings two together as one SO THAT ONE NOT TWO IS DIRECTING THE TWO AS ONE. It is a oneness of emotions, intellect and spirit.