I get to humble myself to you today. You see, God’s been revealing some things to me about myself. That’s what happens when you commit to let God be God and pray Psalm 139:23-24,
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Yep, God loves that kind of praying—when we pray His own Word back to Him with a sincere and seeking heart. He’s been answering that particular prayer of mine for the last 15 years. Funny, after all this time, He hasn’t run out of “offensive ways” to reveal to me. Thank goodness for His infinite love and patience! Obviously, I’m a work in progress.
I recently started a Bible study exploring modern-day idolatry, Kelly Minter’s “No Other Gods.” I got as far as day 2 when God revealed the latest offensive way He wanted to remove. 2 Kings 17:7 served as the springboard for my revelation.
All this took place because the Israelites had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up out of Egypt from under the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt (emphasis mine).
I’ve taught often on the parallels between God’s deliverance of the Israelites from their captivity in Egypt to our deliverance through Christ from our own areas of spiritual bondage. Over the years, Christ has freed me from many things, but that day’s lesson offered a fresh look based on the wording of that verse. The commentary challenged me to consider anything that represented a “pharaoh” in my life. Did I have anything that exercised power over me other than God?
To be honest, I couldn’t come up with anything. So I did what I always do, knowing my deceptive heart will never give up its gods easily. I prayed, asking Jesus to show me if I did.
It didn’t take long for Him to answer. Five words surfaced clearly in my thoughts. “You need to be right.”
Well, doesn’t everybody?
I pondered the thought for several moments until realization slowly began to dawn. That “need” I had never been able to name had been a destructive factor in my life, displaying itself in several different areas. But the big one was this:
He showed me I felt so driven to be right that I feared ever being wrong. And that fear made me slow to trust Him.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt Jesus prompting me to take a step of faith and let doubt delay my obedience. Good and logical thought convinced me I needed to double-check with God to make sure I heard Him correctly. Like Gideon, I’d set out my fleece time and again to make sure He continued to give me the same answer. He would have to confirm His will to me several times before I’d finally move.
I thought my motives were pure. I wanted be in the heart of God’s will. I wanted to be certain the idea was truly coming from Him and not from me. I didn’t want to inadvertently step outside of His blessing and favor.
I didn’t want to be wrong.
So I would wait. And pray. And wrestle with my thoughts. And stand still.
Apparently, I’d rather remain in limbo than take a step in the wrong direction. Not so bad, right?
But God was trying to show me something. Inadvertently serving this need to be right interfered with my ability to serve Him.
I was behaving as if I didn’t have the relationship with Him that I have been building for the last 15 years. On several occasions in the midst of my doubt He has had to remind me,
“You know my voice.”
And I do. I’ve learned to recognize it. His quiet whisper penetrating the world’s noise has become my lifeline. I know it when I hear it.
Yet I still question it. My compulsive need to be right—my fear of being wrong— still makes me doubt it. It keeps me wrestling with whether I even heard it. So I don’t move right away when Jesus tells me to. And here’s the truth of it, my friend. Delayed obedience is sin.
I wonder how many times my refusal to move has kept me from a blessing.
2 Kings 17:41 reveals a profound truth:
Even while these people were worshiping the Lord, they were serving their idols.
Dear one, just like Israel, you and I can worship Jesus while serving other gods. I did. I was trying to follow Jesus while still serving my need to be right. The power that need maintained in my life interfered with me doing what God was leading me to do. Kind of gives new insight to Matthew 6:24:
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and ________________. “
What do you still serve, dear one, that keeps you from wholeheartedly following Jesus? Are you willing to let God reveal your hidden chains?
I’ll warn you. You may be surprised by what you discover. But if you’re willing to take the journey, you’ll find the path leads to peace.