This week's devotion is written by guest writer Lance Lohstreter. Lance is my older brother and brother in Christ. Thanks for sharing Lance!
Romans 8:7-8 - The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
Hebrews 11:6 - And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.
Matthew 23:27 - Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness.
Matthew 15:8 - These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
This year a scenario played out in Minnesota high school hockey where a goalie corralled the puck behind his net, casually skated it to the crease, and put it in his own net. On purpose. Apparently he wasn’t pleased about losing the starting job to a sophomore and this was his long planned way of expressing his displeasure, on Seniors Night. Afterwards, he slowly skated off the ice and gave a disrespectful gesture to his bench. That goal tied the game late in the third and his team ended up losing that night, by a goal.
I should rephrase that, because as soon as he did that, it wasn’t his team anymore. One could even argue that as soon as he started planning it, he did not deserve to be called a member of that team. He broke faith with his teammates, with his coaches, with the fans and community that supported him for years. Instead of working to benefit his side, he plotted against them. It probably goes without saying that he wasn’t with the team after that.
It's easy to look at that situation and criticize, but the bad news is we all are no better. We do the same thing to God. From Adam and Eve right up to us, we have our own goals (see what I did there) that don’t always line up with God’s will. And when we pursue our own selfish desires, our own goals, we give the devil, the opposition, what he wants and disrespect God. Rather than submitting our will, we stubbornly and defiantly choose our own way. Isaiah 53:6 - We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way.
The funny thing about that goalie was that by every outward appearance, he looked like a member of the team. He had the pads, the jersey, maybe even a cool helmet painted with an artistic logo. He could skate, had a quick glove, everything that you need to be a goalie. But his heart had turned against his team and he was no longer deserving of them. Like the Pharisees who praised God with their lips, but whose hearts were far from Him, or Judas who served seemingly so faithfully for years but in the end betrayed Jesus. In the same way, we might look like good people from the outside. We might kiss our grandma, shovel our neighbor’s driveway when it snows, and not swear (very much). But all that could be just goalie pads concealing a traitor, just outward appearances hiding a hardened heart. So we see it’s not about what the works we see (Ephesians 2:8-9), but where our heart is before the Lord (Hebrews 11:6). The real question for us then is will we submit our will to God and give Him our love, devotion, and trust. In the end, that’s all that matters.
What are your ‘own goals’, desires you pursue that aren’t in line with God’s will?
Does your heart before the Lord match what you express outwardly?
For more reading see Matthew 26 – Matthew 27:5, Ezekiel 36:24-36
Posted on Wed, April 3, 2013
by Lance Lohstreter filed under