2018-05-01 Self-Inflicted Wounds

Good Morning!

Today is May Day. Did you put out a basket? Did anyone leave one for you? I didn’t grow up with that tradition, but my kids did. Seems like a long time ago. Huh.

Two of my devotionals today hit on the topic of seeking God. In particular, both called believers to keep seeking God. Interestingly enough, a third also urged us not to tire from the race set before us. Isn’t it almost comical how God has a way of putting messages in front of us? I guess He’s trying to get my attention. He wants me to draw near to him.

In all fairness, I have been wandering. Sure, I go through many of the same motions, but not all of them. If I’m honest, I’m not really engaging when I do. Just now, I used the term “motions” which is exactly what they are – habitual meaninglessness. I have all sorts of reasons to explain why but not one really good one to honestly say, “I have been distant from God, and that’s OK because this or that was more important.” Notice, I say, “honestly.” I have had lots of reasons that I have been distancing myself. I had a motorcycle training class Friday, Saturday, and Sunday that pretty much took me out of the loop over the weekend, including missing church on Sunday. There have been lots of other “life” events that I can’t even recall right now.

But here’s the evidence I have been wandering. I missed church. I have fallen several days behind in my bible reading plan. I have not been mediating or journaling. I have not been praying intentionally. I find secular music creeping in on my radio. I have sin that is trying to regain footholds. And, I simply don’t feel like sharing the gospel as I often do. I shouldn’t be surprised at that one when all the others are missing.

Knowing all this, I have a couple of choices I can now make. One, do nothing and drift even further. The other is to make an about face and return to God. The first allows me to do my own thing. Yet, is that what I really want? Is drifting something I enjoy? Do I benefit from drifting? Or, do I find myself in a worsening situation? I would have to say the latter is reality, although early on it may not seem so.

It’s a good exercise to recall times in which I did wander. What happened? Usually something bad. Sometimes I fell into sin. Other times, I was unprepared to face the events of life as they unfolded. In terms of spiritual warfare, I was sleeping at my post, neglecting to remain alert and awake. Furthermore, I even wandered from my post. Never mind sleeping! I wasn’t even there! And what happened? Things got ugly.

I call these self-inflicted wounds. I cause myself harm whenever I am away from the protection of God. If I wander, I have no one to blame but myself. Right? God gives me all the armor I need. He provides his wings for shelter and the rock on which I might rest. If I leave this safe-haven, I have no one to blame but myself. Thus, this is a self-inflicted wound. That doesn’t mean life is easy. I may be wounded apart from my own actions. However, I would venture to say that most of the pain we feel is from our own wandering. We may go out on our own without God, but he never sends us anywhere unequipped.

So, how do I quickly change course? Repent. Recognize my situation and become determined to change my ways. It’s that easy. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. (James 4:7).

1 Corinthians 1:4-9 I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge – even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you – so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

There you have it. The choice is mine. Will I draw near? Will I do so with a spirit of yearning, a strong desire to be with God rather than simply go through the motions?

Father, I want to be like the psalmist said, “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.” I want that. Amen.

Copyright © 2018 Scott Powers

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