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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Five Lessons to Learn When Your Vision is Nailed to a Cross



I GOT SCHOOLED

I have a tendency to interpret what God says to me. Don't get me wrong, I want to know what God means when He speaks, but if I'm not careful I will prematurely expand it. Let me illustrate:

Some years ago, while the pastor of a beautiful church in Florida, I had a strong impression that I would start a Bible/Ministry School. Because I'm a "whole hog or die" kind of guy, I was totally committed to being at the church. So I just knew that I would start that school there. I've learned a few things down through the years, so I didn't tell anyone God told me to start a school, but I did mention it, I insinuated it. I had misinterpreted His will, if it was even Him that had spoken to me-I'm still praying about that.

THE APOSTLES GOT SCHOOLED

The Apostles were raised in a Judaic culture which held the Word of God in the highest regards. It was God's Word. It was the final authority. They taught their children its precepts at every possible opportunity.

They were well versed on the subject of the imminent coming of their Messiah. They had spoken of it day after day. They had memorized every verse dealing with His arrival, but there was a problem with their interpretation. They were taught and believed that the Messiah would literally take over the temple in Jerusalem, sit upon a throne, and rule the world from there. Who would debate that was an incredible vision for what was to come? Not me. Their vision was mighty, it just wasn't God's vision. They were living under the oppressive hand of Rome and had read their desperate desire to be delivered from that oppression into the Word of God. They had committed the egregious Theological error of eisegesis. 

In John chapter twenty-one, verses one through three, we see the results of misinterpreting the will of God. They were looking for Jesus to sit upon a throne in Jerusalem, break the power of Rome, and give them liberty right then and there. Unfortunately, they watched their vision be nailed to a cross and then buried in a tomb. 

WHAT WILL YOU DO WHEN YOUR VISION IS NAILED TO A CROSS?

They didn't know how to handle this contradiction, this frightening disappointment. Was the Bible wrong? Was Jesus not the Messiah? They had placed all of their chips on Jesus being the Messiah, but now He was dead. 

Peter said, "I don't have an answer for this. I can't explain why it didn't work out like I thought it should. I've preached a lot of bold things about Jesus, but now He and my hopes are dead. I'm going fishing". 

All of the other Apostles went with Peter. Why go fishing? And why did Luke, the doctor, go fishing with him? This answer is actually very simple. Peter went fishing because it was familiar to him. Luke went with Peter because Peter was familiar to him. People run to what they know when their hopes and dreams don't work out like they want. I've watched new converts run back to a man, a woman, a drug, alcohol, etc. I've watched saints run back to their busy-ness, their hobbies, their depression, their isolation, etc. People run back to what is familiar. 

When the heat was turned up, John Mark went home to Jerusalem (Acts 15:37-40); Demas went back to Thessolinika (2Ti 4:10); Cleopas and his wife took the Damascus road home (Lu 24:13-35); and Peter went back to fishing (John 21:3).

We need to seek God for His will. When we get ahead of God we set ourselves up for failure. When we get ahead of God we miss His will. We become discouraged and sometimes depressed. 

We can lose our purpose and direction. When you sink your heart into doing what you feel is God's will but it falls apart at the seams ... it can rock your world. It can make you question everything. It can open up doors for Satan to shake your faith.

Here's five things you can do when your will is nailed to a cross:

1. Be merciful to yourself. God's will is far above ours. We love Him and want to work for Him with all of our hearts. When He speaks we take off running to what we think He wants. We miss everything else He said because of our zealous desire for Him.

2. Don't immediately discard what you felt God spoke to you. It may happen at a later date, in a different place, or slightly different manner.

3. Don't be afraid to start over. Better men and women have had to.

4. Learn every lesson you can from your mistakes and try to not make them again.

5. Pray for a greater sensitivity to the Spirit. Ask Him what His will is before you come to too many conclusions on your own.    


Watch the following Devotional Video on this subject! 



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