Monday, 15 July 2013

Being near to the Lord {lessons from a runaway child}

I love it when the Lord uses my children to teach me spiritual lessons.

A little while ago, we went for a walk to the post office.  Our village is in a "square", of sorts, with 4 roads.  We go down 2 sides on the way there, and finish the "square" off to come home. We had taken the scooter with us, and the children had decided to take turns riding it. After the Post Office, it was Susie's turn.  I had to stop and sort out something with Simeon in the pram, and when I looked up, Susie was already at the corner.  When *I* reached the corner, a village lady stopped to say hello.  When I had finished a quick chat with her, Susie was NOWHERE to be seen. I sent Beth off ahead, to see if she could find her, but she couldn't see her up ahead AT ALL.  I sent the boys BACK, in case I had somehow missed her, and she had actually gone back the way we came.  Nope.  No Susie.  I then sent Beth WAAAAAAY on ahead.  In one sense, I didn't like to send another child off alone, to find a lost one, but thoughts of little children being abducted were starting to fill my mind.  I walked as fast as I could with the pram, and Abi trying to keep up beside me, whilst the boys went back again, the way we had come.  We had planned to go to the park, so I was just hoping that she had managed to "scoot" really quickly! We got all the way to the street leading to the park, when Beth appeared with Susie in tow.  I was SO relieved.

I gave her a lecture about how she needs to ALWAYS stay within my sight.  If she can't see me, I can't see her.  I tell ALL the children that, regularly. However, she got so caught up in her own little world, that she did not realise how far away she had got from me.  I explained that there are some nasty people who could take her away, if she wasn't near me.  I never quite got to the panicking stage, but I didn't like not knowing where she was.  I also had to remind her, and myself, that because she doesn't hear very well (VERY blocked ears), she needs to make special effort to stay nearby, to hear instructions.  She needs to have her ears specially tuned in to listening for instructions.

It is so like our walk with the Lord.

It is the moment that we take our eyes off Him and start going our own way, that we get lost and into problems.  We can't just decide to do our own thing, and wander away.

 "I have gone astray like a lost sheep;"
Psalm 119:176

 "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way;"
Isaiah 53:6 

We can take our eyes off the Lord in so many ways.

- We can neglect our reading of the scriptures, and praying.  Bible reading and prayer are two of  the best ways to make sure we ARE close to Him. (2Timothy 3:15 "And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." ; Philippians 4:6  "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." )

- We can start listening to advice from non-Biblical sources, which pulls us farther from what the Lord wants in our life. (Psalm 19:7-9  "The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.  The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.")

 - We can neglect being with God's people, when we COULD be with them.  God has given them to us to be accountable to, and to help and encourage us to walk in His ways.  (Proverbs 11:14  "Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.")

 - We can choose bad friends. Ones who give us advice other than God's Word, or who are not faithful in encouraging us in God's ways, will pull us further from Him.  We need to seek out the company of those who will give us wise advice, based upon God's Word. (Proverbs 27:9  "Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel.") 

 - Maybe like Susie, with her "deaf" ears, we need to make sure that we are not distracted by earthly things, and particularly pay attention to "tuning in" to God's voice.  Not just reading the Bible, but really LISTENING to the lessons we should be learning from it.  Taking time to listen to sermons, over and above the ones on a Lord's day.  Reading good books.  All these things help us to "hear" God's voice. (Psalm 119:15  "I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.  I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.")

 -We can also become discontent with our situation.  When we start to grumble, complain and feel dissatisfied with God's plan for our life, we in essence wander away from Him.  A heart that embraces the perfect plan that God has for us, is a heart that is close to God. (Philippians 4:11 "For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.")

 - we can yield to the temptation to sin, instead of relying upon God's grace to resist. (Romans 7:19  For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.)

The problem is with wandering, is that we are more often than not quite happy, and almost oblivious to it! Susie had NO idea she was so far from me, and was quite happy and unconcerned.  We need to take stock of our hearts, and make sure we haven't become comfortable in a life that is neglecting the Lord. Self-examination.  When we examine ourselves, it must always be that our measure is God's Word, and being like the LORD.

"But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 
For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 
For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 
But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed."
James 1:22-25

We need to look into God's Word, above all else, and make sure that we are hearers of His Word, AND doers. We will be blessed by living a life that is tuned into God's voice, and walking beside Him.

Susie, as a vulnerable child, on her own with no adult beside her,  was far more likely to be snatched by some undesirable person.  The devil is just like that - He looks for those who are separated from "the flock", so to speak.  Like a wolf looking at sheep, he will find the most vulnerable.  When we are not walking close to the shepherd, then that's *US*. The devil is constantly looking for the weak, to hurt and tempt.  He will be far less likely to try and snatch us, if we are under God' watchful eye, and close to Him.

My prayer for my own heart, and for all of you, this week, is that we would walk near to the Lord.  To be so close to Him, that He never leaves my sight - in all that I say, think and do.  That I give no occasion to the flesh, by wandering in my own ways.

 O to grace how great a debtor

Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let That grace, Lord,  like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

1 comment :

  1. What a good post! (and a great hymn!) Glad Susie was found (rather) quickly. It can be terrifying to lose sight of one of our children...I guess it's happened to us all. And such a WONDERFUL analogy you've drawn again. Sure appreciate your posts, Caroline!