[CF Devotionals] 2012-07-19 - Carefulness In Evil Days

Part 1

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what the nature desires, but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires ?. Romans 8:5-6 (NIV)

God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey him and the power to do what pleases him. Philippians 2:13 (NLT)

Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15-16, NIV)

For we know that our old self was crucified with him, so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin. (Romans 6:6)

While contemplating life events over the past month, earlier this week, I shared a few thoughts with a friend via e-mail. "I've come in contact with some very dark things recently," I wrote. "Those experiences were so profoundly disturbing on a soul level. I see so much how Satan is the father of lies - and what he talks people into believing. He hasn't been able to talk me into believing all the lies, because I am God's child and have the Spirit of Truth in me. People who don't have that fall for the lies, and allow themselves to be convinced of things that are so ridiculous and harmful."

Long story short, I got too close to someone who doesn't share my Christian faith. Ultimately, as a result of my own choices and Satan's schemes, I was exposed to some of Satan's worst soul-enslaving lies. I knew them for what they were and could not accept them as "okay." I wasn't a participant, but just being in close proximity to such unholy things, and seeing someone I care so much about being so oblivious and trapped in sin, led me to feel "unclean." I knew I had to separate myself. I knew such things weren't good or right, and that God did not want me to become tolerant of them.

I felt spiritually tainted, much like Adam and Eve must have felt in the Garden of Eden, when they suddenly realized the truth that they were naked. They had knowledge of evil as well as good. That's never how God wanted it to be. There are certain things I believe God never wanted His children exposed to. He knows we don't handle such knowledge very well. He warns us, but He made us with the ability to choose. When we don't listen and we go our own way, we can come in contact with some very dark things in terms of sin and distortions of God's gifts. He is there, ready and willing to help us if we mess up, but I can't help but think He sadly shakes His head and thinks, "Child, I told you so, because I love you. You wouldn't be feeling this pain now, if you had listened and trusted Me."

I have been reminded (yet again) that God has reasons for what He says. Those reasons don't have anything to do with God wanting to weigh me down with rules and laws. I know, from the book of Jeremiah, that God's plans are to give me hope and a future and to keep me from unnecessary hurt. The Bible's teachings about behaviors we are to avoid and behaviors we are to engage in, have to do with God trying to protect me from getting caught up in things that aren't good for me. He wants to keep me from being distracted from what is His best for me. He doesn't want me to get confused about what the truth "really" is.

If I'm too close with someone who does not share my faith, I'm emotionally and spiritually vulnerable. Satan can use that person and my vulnerability, to try and draw me away from the truth I know, towards lies and confusion. If I get too tangled up with that one person, my energies go in that direction rather than towards pursuing God and who He wants me to be. I can pray and try to show God's love, while keeping a safe distance, so that I'm not overcome by the spiritual darkness myself.

I am freer now and have more clarity about what God has for me. I know God will "restore my soul" as only He can. I can put off the sin that so easily entangles and press on now. Freedom not slavery. Light not darkness. Life not death. I choose freedom, light, and life.

To be continued.

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