by Steve Bacon
Is there really a time or season for “everything under the sun,” as the writer of Ecclesiastes 3:1 proclaims? If I say amen, does that give me permission to embrace a time of anxiety for the lack of my basic necessities for life? Such as, what I’ll eat or drink or the condition of my clothing? After all Jesus gave a clear directive against such worries in Matthew 6:25.
Can I justify participating in a time of criticism and judging of other people? Can I also bask in the glow of my self-righteousness for just a season? And what about doubting that God will come through for me in a time of crisis or, persist in holding a grudge for a few hours beyond sunset?
Really, if there is a time and season for everything can I cash in on any of those things that will make me feel good?
I suppose I can. I just need to turn a deaf ear to the sound of conviction when reading Jesus’ teachings on such matters and live through the consequences.
That has been the trade-off for mankind doing what he feels like doing ever since the first act of defiance rippled across creation in Genesis 3. Clearly, there is never a time to ignore God’s Word and disobey His clear direction without drastic and deadly consequences.
But now really, why can’t I still do what I feel like doing if no one is going to get hurt? Can’t I just enjoy the good feeling it brings me? Consider this illustration.
Let’s say that I let a friend talk me into skydiving. You’d have a better chance of getting me to shave my head, but let’s just go with the skydiving idea for now. While onboard the perfectly good aircraft that is ascending into the clouds, my friend begins to tell me how the one feeling he truly lives for is free-falling. “Nothing compares to it,” he says, and decides that today he wants to experience the feeling to its fullest extent. Right then and there he unbuckles his parachute, opens the door, and with a huge smile on his face, jumps from the plane.
Now my friend will no doubt thoroughly enjoy what he feels like doing to the max until he runs out of sky. For him, there is indeed a time for everything. Thoroughly enjoying an uninterrupted moment to be free to do what he feels like doing, but there will be devastating consequences that will soon disrupt his enjoyment.
Maybe today you feel like eating that one-pound bag of M&M’s that was leftover from Christmas, but you can’t do so without adding thousands of calories to your body. Maybe you feel like telling your arrogant manager what you really think of her latest idea. That too will have consequences.
As disciples of Christ we may choose to pass through life on our own terms doing what our emotions dictate, and you can bet our loving Father will permit us to do so, for a season. But His shepherding heart will not let you, his adopted son or daughter, continue that pattern for long as the writer of Hebrews informs us:
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11).
- Think about the decisions you have made over the past week. How often are your final choices made by yielding to your emotions?
- What areas in your life have you been exhibiting questionable behavior?
- Do you find yourself rationalizing to continue in this behavior? How?
- If while enjoying this “free-fall” you were to come face-to-face with God’s discipline, how might the consequences affect:
Your reputation among unbelievers?
Your testimony with other Christians?
- 1 Corinthians 10:13 reads: “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
What are some of the victories you have been blessed to experience that only were realized because you were honest with God and didn’t resist His escape plan?
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