January 14, 2018
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The fear of others lays a snare,
but one who trusts in the Lord is secure.
This week, I had a breakthrough in my walk with the Lord. I do not tell you that to brag in any way on myself. I tell you, to glorify God. You see, for many years, I have had an ongoing battle..the battle of being a man pleaser. I hate confrontation. I would rather get along with people. I don’t like to disappoint anyone or let anyone down. This has at times been to my own detriment.
Several years ago, I had a ministry that was burning in my heart. I was certain that I was being led of God and I was so excited to think that he might use me to help others in this area. I went to a person that I trusted for counsel. That day, I was talked out of what God had laid on my heart. That day, the dream died. That day, I made a choice to follow man’s advice, even though something deep inside me knew that it couldn’t be right. Something deep inside me was screaming that I was being misled, and that possibly this person had their own ideas for my life and how I could be used. I didn’t listen that day. I let go of the desire the Lord had laid on my heart, and I followed man.
For years after this, I would hear people tell me that God had spoken to them about this or that. I wondered why God only seems to speak to certain people. It didn’t seem that He was speaking to me. I would spend time with Him, and question the fact that I didn’t feel that I was hearing from Him. I needed direction. Most of the time, God was silent.
For many who feel that God is silent, it is a curious thing. We wonder why. We end up deciding that He only speaks to a certain few “chosen” people. We wonder what we did wrong. We fight the feelings of discouragement, and even isolation..and ask ourselves if the God of the universe, Who IS love, is rejecting us. We find that hard to believe, but can come up with no other answer.
This week, I got my answer. I was having a conversation with a friend who has stepped out in faith in a certain area, and I was telling him that I admired his courage. He began to share with me that he had come to a point in his life where he simply had to do what God had laid on his heart, even when it didn’t make sense, even when others disagreed, even if he had to stand alone, even if it meant leaving others behind, even if it meant laying down his life. I was so struck by what he was telling me..and then God spoke. It wasn’t out loud, but it was as if He “planted” something in my spirit..and it was simply this…”No one can hear My voice and follow My leading, when they have chosen to follow man”. I cannot begin to tell you all, how deep this sunk into my heart. We cannot serve two masters. We cannot choose to follow man, over following Christ. It will never work.
Most of the time, I don’t think we even realize what we are doing…and I am certainly not saying that we shouldn’t seek counsel from someone wise from time to time…but I am saying, that God does speak. If you read the book of Acts, you will notice how the Spirit led, and how the Spirit even stopped people. This is normal. This is how it should be in the life of every believer. If we are not being led by the Spirit, then who or what are we being led by?
I know that this message is strong today. I do not wish to offend anyone. I must tell all of you that I had this devotion written out earlier this morning, and just as I was finishing the last couple of sentences, my screen went blank. It literally went blank. This has never happened before, and I had to take some time to rethink and pray, believing that God wants you all to see this.
The fear of man brings a snare, beloved. A snare is a trap that you cannot get out of on your own. Is there something in your life that you believe God is speaking to you? Are you making decisions based on His leading or based on what might be favorable with man? Whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe. My prayer for each of us today is that we might re-examine our lives and begin to ask God what or who we might be putting our trust in..our trust belongs in Him. His is the voice that we need to hear and to follow. May you have a deep sense of His presence today. His sheep hear His voice..and they follow Him. Today, may you hear the voice of your Savior..and may you simply follow Him.