Listening to Yourself

Matthew 20:32, NIV
“Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.”

Today’s devotional is about the value of listening to ourselves. Imagine if we were to consistently ignore, dismiss or negate another person. We all know that wouldn’t be a very nice thing to do. Yet sometimes we can adopt this attitude to the one person we always have with us (so to speak): ourselves. Surely this is not the kind of attitude that’s in line with God’s heart or will for us. He’s so much kinder than that!

Living God’s way means having balance in our lives. The enemy seeks to bring us into the extremes. Of course it’s right for us to prefer others above ourselves, and to yield to the desires of God’s Spirit rather than to our own sinful desires, but this doesn’t mean we should completely ignore the things we truly long for.

When the Lord made us, He created us all with many in-built desires. For example: the longing for fulfilling relationships, the desire to express ourselves, the compelling urge to grow, develop, mature, and indeed to live a full and fulfilling life. All these things (and more) have been put into our hearts by the Lord Himself.

Many Christians have come to believe that the most spiritual thing to do is to ignore these God-given desires and to devote oneself to ‘more spiritual’ things. Yet when we go this way, we’re in danger of shutting down elements of our God-given humanity, and we’ll struggle to rece It doesn’t matter which country you are in, or which people group they are from, when you look at their faces you can so often see that they have been on a journey through life. Some of the battle scars they have picked up along the way are evident! It is sometimes clear that, for various reasons, they haven’t been walking about in freedom.

The whole of Psalm 119 is about the laws and the precepts of God – about how precious they are, about how when we follow them, they give us wisdom beyond the intellect of man. In these remarkable verses from this, the longest Psalm, the psalmist expresses a core truth which lies at the heart of much of the healing that people receive when they come in humility and submit their lives to the scrutiny of the Spirit of God, letting His Word and His truth be the arbiter of what has been right or wrong in their lives.

Pride would want us to adjust the implications of Scripture to make it look as though we are never wrong. Humility recognises that in our heart there is a constant vulnerability to temptation and that when we succumb to it then we sin – the fact is, sin has consequences. We cannot walk about in freedom when we have been bound by the consequences of our own ungodly choices – choices which are contrary to the laws and precepts of God.

No wonder the Psalmist came to the conclusion that there is nothing more sensible than to delight in obeying God’s law. When we live within the limits of these provisions of God’s mercy, then the enemy has no rights or grounds to enslave us in bondage – we are free! To walk about in such freedom is a totally liberating experience which brings a smile to our faces, a spring to our step and a rejoicing heart. Nothing gives me more joy than to see the changes in people’s faces when they begin to walk about in the freedom that confession, forgiveness, deliverance and healing always brings. No wonder Isaiah prophesied that the Sovereign Lord was coming to set the captives free! (Isaiah 61:1)

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that in Your Word You have given us the keys of salvation and that when I choose to walk in Your ways, then I will always know the freedom that only You can give. Help me, Lord, to remember Your laws and rejoice to walk in them forever and ever! In the name of Jesus. Amen.

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