Sunday, January 13, 2013

When God Tells You to Get Out of the Way!!

I got in God's way this morning, just stuck my size nine narrow sling-back heel in there and offered a quick, soothing word to an upset friend--a word I had no right to give.

She caught me by the water fountain as I rushed into worship service.  After dispersing the last of my six children to a parent, I wanted nothing more than to find my seat so no one would tsk tsk over my tardiness.

In hushed tones, she spoke a fear that she had offended someone when she had made a particular point in class earlier that morning.  I quickly brushed aside her worries, assured her that it wasn't a big deal and that I agreed with her Biblical stance.

In my mind, this was one of those issues that even close family might disagree on but still live quite peacefully on the firm foundation of Christ.  "It's no big deal," I smiled before quickly moving away to take my seat.

Hours later, I closed the door for a Sunday afternoon nap.  The day's ever-present noise and rush stopped, fell to the silence of the rain on the windows.  And in that silence, I felt the sudden, chastening hand of God more strongly than I have in quite some time.

Who did I think I was!?  Was I God to convict her of how she should relate to another sister in Christ?

God clearly told me I had gotten in His way, that He was doing a work in my friend's heart and who was I to give her false reassurance that everything was ok? 

In that moment, I felt like the prophets of the Old Testament, those saying what was in their own hearts versus in God's heart; those speaking what they thought the Israelites wanted to hear--messages of peace, restoration, and prosperity--instead of true messages of repentance and judgment.  Jeremiah said these false prophets, "have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace" (Jer. 6:14).

Giving advice is easy to do.  Giving Godly advice is harder.

And what's even harder?  Making sure our Godly advice doesn't impede the Holy Spirit's conviction upon someone's soul.

As Oswald Chambers said, "Conviction of sin is one of the rarest things that ever strikes a man. It is the threshold of an understanding of God. Jesus Christ said that when the Holy Spirit came He would convict of sin, and when the Holy Spirit rouses the conscience and brings him into the presence of God, it is not his relationship with men that bothers him, but his relationship with God."

This quotation is true to the non-believer and the believer alike.  Even once one is saved, his relationship with God is still what bothers him most.

After the Holy Spirit convicts a lost soul unto repentance, the Spirit's conviction still continues to play an active role in the believer's life, albeit this time it is a conviction unto a deeper relationship with God, unto a life where we become more like Christ, unto further repentance.  As Christ told His disciples, "when the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you" (Jn. 16:13-15).

In other words, the Spirit's conviction acts as a guide, making us more like the Father and Son.

When others seek out our counsel, we can unintentionally sidetrack them from what God is doing in their lives if we rush to give a comforting answer above all else (and in all honestly? comfort is what I want to do for my friends). Yet, if we truly have their best interests in mind, we must try harder to speak the truth in love, to not be afraid to say, "Well, if God is convicting you about that, then perhaps you should do something."

And if we do screw up like I did and stick a foot where it doesn't belong?  We must then be courageous enough to go back to that friend, admit our unwise counsel, and thank the Spirit for convicting us so we could make it right. 

Photo credit Michael M. Schwab/Getty Images

No comments:

Post a Comment