I have decided to post some devotionals that I wrote several years ago for a weekly newsletter called The Eagle's Wing. Here is one:
Don’t you love the glorious time that we have with the Lord and His people on Sundays? It is so encouraging and uplifting. And then the alarm screams in your ear on Monday morning, and you realize with a sinking in the pit of your stomach that it’s back to the “real world” - the real problems, the real pain, the real attitudes, the real traffic. YUCK!
I realize that the Lord desires for us to have stability in our lives. We are “up” one day and “down” the next. Riding that emotional roller coaster. Please know that I am not pointing a finger at anyone, because I stand in line and buy tickets for that ride way too many times. The stability comes from a growing intimate relationship with our Lord.
The difference between dead religion and a real relationship with God is whether or not we can use it in the “real world”. The Bible tells us that the law kills, but the Spirit brings life. The reason that the law kills is that we can never keep it perfectly. It was not given for us to keep, but rather to show us that we cannot keep it, and therefore need the Lord to make us righteous. Dead religion teaches the law. The rules. The dos and don’ts. All the right hoops to jump through to make yourself look like you have it all together. But they neglect to tell you what to do with the empty void inside you that nothing ever satisfies. That longing of the heart to be loved unconditionally and completely - to be known and accepted, just as we are.
It is the Father’s desire for us to have an intimate relationship with him. In fact, that is why we were created. When we are involved in that kind of relationship with our Father, a lot of the “stuff” that would otherwise blow us away is put into perspective. That is why I say that the Spirit brings life. He brings His life into our lives. See, the ultimate goal is not just to die and go to heaven, although that will be glorious to spend eternity praising God. Jesus came to give His life so that we can have life, and life more abundant (see John 10:10) right here, right now.
This abundant life is not a carefree life with no problems. I don’t see that promised anywhere in God’s Word. Quite the opposite actually. We are promised trials and tribulations and persecution. But even with all of these troubles we are told that we are more than conquerors! (Romans 8:37)
So the stability does not come from living a problem-free life. The stability has to come from Who we know to be in control of all the circumstances that surround us. I want us to look at a passage of scripture in Psalms which you may be very familiar with, and see if we can learn anything about the stable life: “Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” (Ps. 1:1-3 NKJV)
In the natural I can’t think of anything more sturdy and stable than a big old tree, with its roots down deep in the earth. It reminds me of the old hymn that I used to sing as a child, “I shall not be, I shall not be moved. I shall not be, I shall not be moved. Just like a tree planted by the water, I shall not be moved.” This is the stability that I long for, and if you care anything about going on with God, I know that you do too. So let’s look at the verses in Psalms to see what we can learn together.
We see that God considers us blessed when we:
*Do not seek the council or advice of ungodly people
*Do not spend all of our time fellowshipping with sinners
*Do not join in with those who scoff or mock
*Delight in God’s Word
*Think about His Word day and night
The scripture goes on to say that we will be like that tree planted by the water, with our leaves lush and green, and producing fruit; the sweet-smelling, precious fruit of the Holy Spirit. And look at the promise in the last line: Whatever we do will prosper! What a blessing!
I will be the last one to argue with you that life is hard. Sometimes it seems unbearably hard. And our emotions are very fickle. We can be swinging from the chandeliers one minute and sucking lemons the next. These are the times that we must move beyond what we feel, and look inward to see what we really believe. The stability and security come from knowing that even though everything in this world is subject to being “shaken”, the God in whom we put our hope and our trust cannot be shaken. Nothing takes Him by surprise, and nothing slips by Him unnoticed. A few verses down in Ps. 1:6 it tells us that “The LORD watches over the path of the godly...”. He knows right where we are and what we are going through.
So even on Mondays, when we face the thought of heading back into our chaotic world, let us take courage and strength from the fact that it’s not dead religion that gives us a reason to face the challenges of each new day, but rather the knowledge of Truth that comes only from our love relationship with our Savior and Lord. Join me in my new battle cry, “I SHALL NOT BE MOVED!”