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Monday, October 31, 2011

Kept from Things I Cannot See

Matthew 26: 20 - 22, When evening had come, He sat down with the twelve. Now as they were eating, He said, "Assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me." And they were exceedingly sorrowful, and each of them began to say to Him, "Lord, is it I?" NKJV

Is it possible for a Christian to know what they are capable of doing? God told Jeremiah that the heart of man was desperately wicked and deceitful above all things, and who can know it. God also told Jeremiah that He searches our hearts. According to today's passage, the disciples not only didn't know who the betrayer was, but each one wondered if it was him.

Likewise, when we get into desperate situations, it can cause us to panic and become defensive or territorial. If we should allow the power of lust to rule our hearts, it can drive us to commit unrighteous and evil acts. The key to overcoming the evil that is in our hearts (caused by the fall of man) is to trust God with our whole heart. As a husband, father, and pastor, I ask the Lord regularly to keep me from acting out of my heart in a sinful way against Him. 

While studying God's Word, I have found that there is nothing wrong with telling other like-faith believers that you don't trust your own heart. In fact, the Bible tells us in Proverbs not to lean to our own understanding, but in all our ways, we are to acknowledge God. Peter tells us in his epistle that Satan is going about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. How does he know who is a likely candidate, and who isn't? He sets us up in certain challenging situations, and when the test comes, he moves in with his lies with the hope that we won't turn to God, but, instead, listen only to him.

Remember, Jesus calls us sheep, and as such we are vulnerable to the wolves of the world. If we should stray from the protection of our Shepherd and the communion of the flock of God, we can become prey for Satan to attack us in our mind, emotions, and desires. If you feel that God has given me this word specifically for you, then know there is something you can do today to keep you from crossing certain lines that will place you at odds with the Lord.

Each disciple asked Jesus if they were the one He was speaking about that would betray Him.  Likewise, we must also turn to the Lord and ask Him to keep us from listening to or trusting in our own hearts. This is called having integrity before the Lord. Once we give ownership of our hearts over to God, it is His responsibility to keep us from anyone or anything that might be a setup from Satan. 

Satan preys on our spiritual ignorance and blind spots so that he might gain an upper- hand over us. Paul tells us in Timothy that Eve was deceived, but that Adam wasn't deceived. Therefore, we must give our entire heart over to the Lord and place our trust in Him. As we begin to practice this, the Holy Spirit can begin to lead us into all truth, keep us from temptation, and deliver us from evil.

When God called Abraham out of his father's country and away from his kindred, it's obvious that Abraham had some flesh issues in his heart. On occasion, when he would go into a new place, he would ask Sarah to tell a partial lie; he asked her to say she was his sister and not his wife. He did this because of fear that the men of that village or city would try to kill him in order to get Sarah, since she was very beautiful. Let me interject this thought: notice that Abraham totally excluded God from the situation and made an assumption, which ultimately got him into trouble with the king. He was leaning on his own understanding (Genesis 20).

One day Abraham entered Gerar, whose king was named Abimelech. To protect himself, Abraham asked his wife to lie. Because of this fabrication, the king took Sarah into his house that night. God appeared to the king while in a dream. In the dream, God told him that he was a dead man because he had taken another man's wife. Of course, you can imagine how this made the king feel, seeing that he had been lied to by Abraham. When the king told God that he had done this out of the integrity of his heart, God replied, "Yes, I know that you did this in the integrity of your heart. For I also withheld you from sinning against Me; therefore, I did not let you touch her. 

I love this story because it shows how God will keep me when I have been set up by someone else's wrongs...wrongs that might cause me to believe a lie and sin against God. God will keep us from sin as long as we honor Him continually in our hearts, as He did with Abimelech. God didn't allow the king to commit a sin that would bring a curse on him and his people. The Lord doesn't want us to be pierced through with great sorrow because of sin that we committed out of our ignorance. He desires that we trust in Him and honor His Word so that He might keep us from entering into temptation. Fear and lust both want you to listen to them as you make daily decisions; listen to God instead.

Lord, is it I?
Pastor Asa Dockery

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