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Walk in Grace
by Femi Onabanjo
4/19/2016 / Devotionals
"Those who cling to worthless idols forsake the grace that could be theirs" (Jonah 2:8)
God's ways are not our ways, neither are His thoughts our thoughts. They are widely different as high as the heavens are above the earth (Isa. 55:9). Unfortunately, we do not always believe so. We sometimes think that God needs a helping hand. The Bible contains examples of people who fell into this error which eventually led to compromise and disobedience.
King Saul is one such example. He had been instructed by Samuel to wait for his arrival before offering a sacrifice. But when Samuel did not show up as planned, Saul assessed the situation and decided to engage Plan B. His army was surrounded and they had little prospect of victory. Now the soldiers were deserting him. What could be worse? Perhaps Samuel had an unscheduled appointment or was on another assignment. The King reasoned that he might as well get the job done himself. It wouldn't matter, would it? But it did and it cost Saul his throne (1Sam 13:5-13). Another example is the young prophet who was on assignment from the Lord, with instructions not to return home by the same route or to eat or drink anything along the way. However, his obedience was put to the test when an older prophet came along claiming that he was also instructed by God and enticed the young prophet to come over to his home for a meal. The young prophet agreed to the invitation and thereafter met his waterloo (1Kings 13:1-23).
God is a stickler for following instructions promptly and to the letter. It will not do to obey fifty percent and leave out the other fifty percent. Neither is it acceptable to receive an instruction for today, only to wait until tomorrow to execute it. One notable trait in Abraham was his prompt response to instructions (Gen. 17:23). Even though he had earlier made the mistake of thinking he could assist God, which resulted in the birth of Ishmael (along with its consequences), Abraham learned his lesson and subsequently chose to obey God no matter the cost. A man who would not question God but, without hesitation, be ready to sacrifice his one and only child surely must have imbibed the virtue of obedience (Gen. 22:1-18).
Often, we are like Saul, always having a Plan B (or even Plans C, D and E). We follow God with fingers crossed, ever doubting, never fully trusting. We behave like that young prophet and assume that a little compromise will not matter or is even justifiable. Sometimes we are like Abraham and think we can come up with a better, easier or faster solution. We have yet to learn that there is a way and time to everything (Prov. 16:25; Eccl. 3:1). God's way and time. When things are done outside of the boundaries of this way and time, pain and loss result. More importantly, we lose out on God's Grace and the provisions thereof. This is the result of insisting on our own way, our idea of the way things should be done and of how our prayers must be answered. It is a fall out of making demands of God, of trying to hold heaven to ransom. Does this describe you? Think again. Are you not adamant on taking that job, marrying that person or going on that trip, regardless of what God says? This is exactly what Jonah refers to as clinging to worthless idols, for that is what they are, our unyielding thoughts and desires. They are idols that have taken over our hearts and for which we will give up anything even God's perfect Will.
Concerning His will, plan and provision for us, the Lord advises: "Why spend money on what does not satisfy? Why spend your wages and still be hungry? Listen to me and do what I say, and you will enjoy the best food of all" (Isa. 55:2). That tells us that when God leaves us to our own devices (as He eventually does when we continually refuse His Will) and we finally lay hold of our desire, we discover that we were merely chasing the wind. We realize that we have traded substance for a mirage and, worse still, we have spent and been spent in the process. We have followed the proverbial rainbow of our dreams to its end only to discover that there is no pot of gold there. Oh, there may be some shiny substance in there alright, but it is not the gold we thought it was. This is always the end of a man that chooses his way above God's.
We do not have to experience the disappointment and frustration of spending our lives and resources on that which at best will not satisfy and at worst will bring regret. Why forfeit the Grace that is readily available to us? We can enjoy the riches of God's provision and preservation wherever He leads us, for His Will never leads us to where His Grace cannot keep us. Let us therefore give up the idols of our heart. Let us believe in God's Fatherly love and that He always has our best interest in mind. We must surrender to His Will if we will enjoy "the best food of all". When we choose His Will and His Way, we automatically choose His Grace and the provisions thereof. We ultimately discover that His Grace is not only sufficient but truly satisfying.
Father, please forgive me for resisting Your Will and Your Grace. I believe You want only the best for me. Remove every idol from my heart that prevents me from accepting that best. I surrender to Your Will, knowing that in the end I will truly be satisfied. Thank you, dear Father. Amen
Femi is a Christian who desires to be fruitful for God. He wants to contribute to the growth of the Kingdom and to this end, it is his joy to freely share whatever the Lord lays on his heart for the benefit of others.
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