Friday Bulletin 13: DRIFTING AWAY FROM GOD

SIX STEPTS OF SEPARATION

Peter G Mkolesia
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Continuation from the posting ALONENESS.
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“It is better to fail in a cause that will ultimately succeed than to succeed in a cause that will ultimately fail.” Peter Marshall

The drift of our lives away from God is just as subtle. And it is frightening to wake up to find that we are not only far from where we should be and the water is way above our heads. What is it that sets us adrift? Based on the lives of the first people in Genesis, we can identify six points that characterize points of departure from intimate relationship with God.

STEP 1.  DOUBTING GOD’S GOODNESS, WISDOM, AND PERFECTION OF HIS INTENTIONS TOWARD US.
When Satan wanted to break the bond of intimacy between Eve and God, he didn’t try to blatantly deny the existence of God. She had too much personal contact with him for that to work. Instead, Satan started where he usually starts – by driving a wedge between Eve and her trust in and affection for God. There was no way she would fall for the fruit unless Satan could get her to doubt that God was good and question whether God had her best intentions in mind when he restricted her from eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Satan breaks our trust in God by getting us to interpret God, his word, and our life experiences in non-truth ways. By the time Eve abandoned God for the supposed benefits of her world, nothing about God had changed. All that had changed was her interpretation of the facts she had previously lived with in glad submission. The generous God who had given her and Adam everything in the garden but one tree she now saw as stingy and restrictive, keeping her from something she desired to bring her satisfaction. Worse, he was selfish preventing her from sharing his great knowledge and power.

Once we begin to suspect God instead of respecting and honouring him, we have begun the trek away from him. Life is full of scenarios where Satan can steal our affection for God by putting his deceitful twist on our experiences. We must remember that he is the spin doctor of hell and as Christ said the father of lies (John 8:44).

Watch for these distorted thoughts:
  • Blaming God for the evil Satan has inspired and superimposed on our lives.
  • Defining God as a God who has been good to others but has denied us position, pleasure, or prosperity with the conclusion that God is not good to us.
  • Making us feel that we have been good but that God has used us and not rewarded us, leaving our righteousness an empty sacrifice.
  • Blinding us to the fact that God can take the worst things in our lives and orchestrate them for good and gain.
  • Convincing us that God’s ways and his will for us are unduly restrictive and oppressive.
We have an experience of this tension between our experience and our view of God we read the interchange between Job and his wife. Both of them had plenty of reason to see life from Satan’s point of view. Job’s fortune was gone, his children were dead, and his health was destroyed. His wife whose heart had been turned against God by her shared tragedy with Job, counselled him: “Curse God and die” (Job 2:9). His perspective? “Though he slays me, I will hope in him” (13:15). Same circumstances. Two different thought patterns. Job had an intimate connection with God that could not be broken by life’s circumstances, no matter how wrenching. The tougher life got, the more he felt he needed God. And, as Peter Kreeft points out, in God “Job has everything even though he has nothing,” in contrast to the godless person, who has “nothing even though he has everything.”
The writer of Psalm 27 reflects the same confidence as he embraces God in the midst of calamities: “Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even will I be confident. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.” (v 3, 5)
We can defend ourselves against the pressure to abandon God by remembering just a few truths:
  • Satan is our enemy and seeks to destroy us by alienating us from the only resources that can support and sustain us (1 Peter 5:8). “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy, the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”
  • It is Satan rather than God who is not good and who has ill intentions against us (John 8:44; 1peter 5:8)
  • Though God permits all that comes into our lives, evil is perpetrated by Satan and as such he not God deserves the blame for initiating ill- motivated actions against us (Job 1)
  • God Permits negative events in our lives only when he can in time turn them to his glory, the advance of the kingdom, and our good (Romans 8:28)
  • God’s laws and principles are good. They are intended to keep us out of harm’s way and to direct us in ways that will ultimately bless and prosper us.(Psalm1)
  • The most powerful statement we can make to a watching world is to assert by word and deed that our God is worthy of our affection and allegiance even when we ride through storms and do not seem to be as blessed as others (Job 2:10; Acts 5:41; 16:19-25).
The discipline of unwavering trust in God will keep us close to home. No one deserves this kind of allegiance more than God, who cares intensely for us and does all things well.
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Agogo P!
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