A Disobedient Spirit
It is a message to obey, not just to listen to. (James 1:22 )
I know several people in the church whose lives are one crisis after another. They always seem to be in some sort of trouble. They go from one sickness to the next and always say they feel poorly. They lose jobs as quickly as they find them and seem to be in constant financial need. Each new crisis appears to get worse as time goes by, and as soon as it looks like they’re coming out of it, another shoe drops, and again they’re in some kind of trouble.
These people appear to be terribly unlucky. Their constant afflictions keep them at the top of their church’s prayer list, and they’re usually not much fun to be around. I’ve watched as these people go through separations and divorces, as they struggle with rebellious children, as they get passed over for promotions, as their houses get robbed, and their cars get stolen. There always seems to be something, and it never seems to end. If you didn’t know better, you’d think they were under some kind of a curse.
And maybe they are. But more likely, they may be under God’s judgment.
It is not our place to judge, and none of us should do that. If we did, we would often be wrong. There are many people who go through hardships because God is trying to mold them into something better than they are. Some suffer as a result of their obedience to God’s calling. It would be a critical error for us to assume that they are out of God’s will because of the bad things that happen to them. But it is true that some people suffer because God’s hand of judgment is on them.
James warns us to “get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the message God has planted in your hearts …. It is a message to obey, not just to listen to” (James 1:21-22 ). Paul tells us why it is so important to obey. “Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the terrible anger of God comes upon all those who disobey him” (Ephesians 5:6 ). Believers who live in a state of disobedience to God will not go without feeling the judgment of God on their lives. God will not allow them to wallow in sin while professing to follow Christ.
Maybe this truth hits a little too close to home for you. Maybe you’re the person who lives from one affliction to the next, always wondering why you can’t get a break. If so, then examine your heart and life diligently. And set the matter to prayer. See if God is trying to tell you something.
Ephesians 5:3-6 ; James 1:22
Do things seem to be going wrong in your life? What might be the reason?
“Receive him into your life and then live in obedience to him. He wants you.” (The Remnant, 232)