“My son give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart; for they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:20-23, NKJV).
Over the past couple of months, there have been several pastors and spiritual leaders in the national news who now question their faith in God; have abandoned their faith and embraced the world’s viewpoint altogether; or worse yet, have committed suicide.
These are tragic situations. Certainly, for the lives of those having made the decision to end it all, they obviously felt they had no where left to turn. But let’s not gloss it over. Sadly, they’ve left parents, siblings, wives and small children to attempt to deal with the devastation they’ve had no choice but to contend with.
For those who simply abandoned their faith, it is equally as tragic, as it represents a death of the dreams, the God-given call and sustaining promise that is “Irrevocable” (Romans 11:29, NKJV); that, “No weapon formed against you shall prosper.” (Isaiah 54:17, NKJV). How then do we make sense of these things? Are we simply left to some cosmic game of pin the tail on the donkey – you know, some will make it, and some won’t…? Or, is there a way we may be assured that, with our faith, we can press through and overcome?
Last week we talked about the “Secret place of the Most High” (Psalm 91:1, ESV); that place each of us may go to, to have time with God, apart from a Sunday morning worship service; that place where we may take our deepest fears, our darkest moments, our greatest challenges, and know that the God of all creation, who has the answer for every one of those things will surely meet us, if we are willing to come. He is available to meet you whenever you call.
As a pastor, I can become so busy with ministry, that I forget where my help comes from (See Psalm 121). I don’t personally know any of the leaders I’ve referenced above, but I do know they are human; and as a man with human needs and tendencies, I know that if I don’t come to God daily in prayer; in private worship; and in the reading of the Word, I will easily begin making decisions that are incongruent with life in Christ. It is all too easy to do and something we must guard against. The Apostle Paul speaks of the necessity of remaining open to the Holy Spirit and guarding against the influence of the spirit of the world:
“So, I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.” (Galatians 5:16-17, NLT).
More next week!