February 13, 2019
Read Part 1 HERE.
The 2nd truth God gave me from the story of Achan was this:
2) Remember Private Choices have Public Impact. Personal Choices have Generational Impact.
I don't think I really understand how important my private choices are.
The truth can be easier to see in someone else’s story.
It’s clear with Achan: he made a private choice that had public impact. His personal choice had generational impact.
We can see it with the young man who made the choice in the privacy of his own vehicle to text and drive - the massive public impact his choice had on others.
We can see how Mildred’s personal choice to write a note about Jesus preparing her to go home has generational impact.
The scripture that God brought to mind as I was listening to Him about the story of Achan was:
“For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.” - Luke 8:17
My private life - my personal choices - whatever is happening with me in the unseen, concealed places of my heart, and mind, and home… they’re not as private and personal as I might like to think.
Our faithfulness - or lack of faithfulness - has more impact than we know, or intend.
God wants us to understand this reality. Our private choices have public impact. Cause and effect is real. We can harm those we love most. We can devastate a wider community.
God reminded me of something I heard Beth Moore share at a conference that I believe she called the “Theology of Secrecy”. She said we can “take it to the spiritual bank” that whatever we do in secret will become known. Our secret choices will manifest and come out into the light in some way.
And though it may be easier for us to think of examples that where there was negative impact: this truth about personal choices and public impact is not a bad, ominous thing. There is great encouragement for us in this "theology of secrecy".
In Matthew 6:6 Jesus told His disciples “when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
Our Father is unseen … but He sees what is done in secret.
Nothing is hidden that will not be disclosed.
There is nothing that is concealed that will not be brought out into the open.
I find it extremely encouraging that you and I can impact the entire body of Christ for good by making wise, Spirit-led private, personal choices.
This truth is key to understanding God. Notice this connection:
Remember how in the parable of the sower from Matthew 13:23 we read this about the good ground/good soil?...
"But the one sown on the good ground--this is one who hears and understands the word, who does produce fruit and yields: some a hundred, some sixty, some thirty times what was sown."
Now listen to Luke 8:15: "But the seed in the good ground--these are the ones who, having heard the word with an honest and good heart, hold on to it and by enduring, produce fruit."
The "good ground" - the ones who hear and understand are those who hear the word and hold on to it. Other versions read: "cling to it" - "retain it" - "hold fast to it".
There is understanding that comes, a harvest that comes, only when we hold on to the word God sows into us.
In the dark, in the dirt, we must let seeds of truth take root and grow in the unseen places of our hearts and minds.
When the Holy Spirit first brought to my mind the Luke 8:17 about what is hidden being disclosed I heard it as a warning… but it is so much more than that.
Luke 8:17 is a beautiful promise to us. I didn’t realize the parable of the sower is the context for these next verses, but you can see in Luke chapter 8 that it is. Jesus tells the parable of the sower ending with the picture of that abundant harvest coming from the good ground then immediately says:
"No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. Therefore consider carefully how you listen. - Luke 8:16-18a
So take heart!
The Light in you will not remain hidden or concealed. He will be known and brought out into the open.
Your private, personal choice to be good ground that hears and holds onto God’s words will bring a harvest 30, 60, or 100 times what was sown.
God will bring His light, and much harvest, out into the open through you.
The 3rd Truth is this:
3) Remember to Obey His Commands to Understand Him More
Proverbs 4:26-27 tells us: "Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil."
Swerving is dangerous. There is a heartbreaking video of the truck driver swerving all over the road for 15 solid minutes before he crashed into Mildred’s bus.
I don't think the driver had any idea how close he came to wrecking and crashing into others so many times before he finally hit the minibus.
He was swerving because he was distracted.
One of God’s commands to us is to be alert. I wonder how alert I am.
I have this urgency: I must be about my Father’s business.
Yet... I wonder how distracted I am by my phone, or other situations in life. I wonder if I'm acting like healthy boundaries can be ignored without consequences.
Who am I in this story?
I asked Selah: “What makes a good character quiz? What kinds of questions do you feel are effective for identifying you as the correct character?”
She said a good question was: "People who aren’t afraid to tell you the truth would say you are…”
Receiving outside perspective - even the mental exercise of considering how someone who knows us well would respond - can help bring clarity to where we might be swerving, distracted, or outright disobeying God.
Action Point: If you have someone close to you who is a safe place for you - consider asking them if they notice you swerving in some way.
And do this: Pause and and ask God to give you His perspective.
"If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you." - James 1:5 NIV
What has the Holy Spirit been tapping on your heart about?
What have you felt dis-ease about that you’re doing or not doing? Is there something God has been prompting you to do that you need to take more seriously?
All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are in Christ. He is a Wonderful Counselor.
He will let you know if you are distracted and potentially swerving, creating some dangerous situations.
He can see so much more than we can.
We must take his commands seriously. We must obey them.
That means knowing them. And remembering them.
Obedience is the path we must choose to not swerve from.
If you want to walk with Jesus? Obey Him. Obedience is where He walks. Obedience is where Jesus reveals himself to us.
"Whoever has my commands and obeys them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them." - John 14:21
Jesus wants to show himself to you. He wants you to better understand Him. This comes through obeying His commands.
"Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own." - Jesus (John 7:17)
To understand how trustworthy God is - you’ve got to trust Him enough to do what He impresses upon you to do.
And trust implies that there will be some things you do not understand, or agree with.
Otherwise, it would only be agreement and not trust.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” - Proverbs 3:5-6
A straight path. Not distracted swerving you will regret.
He wants you to be full of joy, peace and overflowing with hope and the power of His spirit:
And this is how you will experience His joy, peace, and power:
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”- Romans 15:13
When you don’t understand God -
- Remember what you do know (which is: there is a lot you don't know.)
- Remember private choices have public impact. Personal choices have generational impact.
- Remember to obey his commands to understand him more.
You are so, so loved.