Wednesday, September 19, 2012

To Read or Not To Read—That Is The Question



Gasp! What to do when you have to choose between what you know you should do and what you know you have to do? As Christians we are faced with this in our public school setting, with friends, and maybe even with family members. We find ourselves at a crossroads.
This past week I faced my own trying moment as I had to choose between reading an assigned book for my English Lit. class or walking away by not doing the work and S.N.ing (Spark Noting) it all to oblivion. Knowing right from wrong I decided to do the most logical and appropriate thing‒Pray. My professor assigned our first reading, Flannery O'Connor's book, "Wise Blood." Not before long I began to notice that this "easy read" wasn't going to be so easy because it went against all that I believed in speaking every horrible thing one can think of to call Jesus. It's a very dark piece that I would never recommend any Christian to read because you will literally get a headache after a few pages...one's spirit just can't take so much. Once I started noticing these issues I began to just pray for God to give me the strength to just do this and represent Him in the process. We will have to face difficulties in which we must choose but what I have to say is this: just because you don't like what you're reading doesn't give you the right to walk away because where would our testimony lie then? It's so easy to run away from the world to escape sin but we're really running from what lies within us. Our foundation must be well secured in Christ Jesus because if it isn't we will easily be shaken. The word of God tells us not to conform to this school but never does it say to get away from it because we have been sent here for a purpose. When you face these sorts of things my advice to you would be to pray, pray, and then pray some more. But ultimately what the Lord showed me was that I have to obey my professor and do what he says but not act in the ways that the rest of my classmates act. I've met some great people but yes some do cuss and others do blow off assignments, but does this mean I should escape and flee to the middle of nowhere? No. Jesus wouldn't and didn't do that. By His testimony and His message of truth lives were changed. (Romans 13:1-3) Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. It's almost like there's this constant fear in us to not do anything wrong and from respecting the Lord we go to being terrified of Him.  We've got to strive to do what is right but we can't live in terror and condemnation. This is not the kind of relationship that God wants to have with us because His perfect love casts out all fear. Like His word says, if we are afraid then we have not been made whole by His love because we live thinking that we are going to be punished at any moment. I read "Wise Blood" up to where I had to in order to get enough information for the essay that I had to write in class. Had I not read this book, what sort of opinion could I have given? How would I have represented my God? I could have dropped the class or simply failed my exam by not taking it but that would have impeded the over all purpose that God has for my life. There are things that we have to do that we won't want to do. Are we going to run away like Jonah, or are we going to confront our giants like David? The only way to know what God wants us to do is by asking Him. There are times in everything, meaning that sometimes God will give us the green light and other times He won't because He knows what He's doing. How will we know the difference? (John 10:3-5) The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.”

In order to move in God's perfect timing, to know when God wants us to do something, and recognize when He doesn't we must do three important things:


       1). Recognize Jesus' voice
       2). Follow only His voice
       3). Know His voice

This means that we've Got to have a close, intimate, relationship with God so that we can hear his voice constantly, listen to the Holy Spirit's guidance, and then obey. Like Kari Jobe and many other wise pastors have said, "We can only recognize a voice that we've heard more than once." We've got to spend time with God.

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