Say it out loud for me, “I can’t…..!”
What is the first thing that comes to mind?
I can’t change jobs! I can’t talk to my neighbor! I can’t move! I can’t exercise! I can’t read the Bible! I can’t talk to my husband! I can’t join a small group! I can’t stop screaming at my children! I can’t have a quiet time! I can’t go back to school! I can’t keep my mouth shut! I can’t teach a Bible study! I can’t stay here! I can’t write a blog!
I’ve been reading the account of Abraham when he is pleading with God to have mercy on the righteous in Sodom and Gomora. Destruction is coming because the outcry against the wickedness in those cities has become so great.
In response to Abraham’s prayer, God sends two Angels to rescue the righteous. They go to Lot’s home to warn him. They urged Lot to hurry and leave with his wife and daughters. Lot hesitated, so they grasp his hands, as well as those of the women and led them to safety. And then the angels told Lot to flee, flee to the mountains!
Lot’s response, “I can’t…!”
“I can’t flee to the mountains. This disaster will overtake me and I will die. Look this town is near enough and it is small, isn’t it? Then my life will be spared.“ Genesis 19:19, 20
Are you hesitating even though you feel His loving grasp leading the way? What compromise is near enough not to go? What is good enough in comparison to the mountain? What is small enough that you can do it in your own strength, so you don’t feel so threatened?
Those questions are heart surgery for me.
I rest so much in God’s beautiful grace and love, that I often do not push myself to the mountains. The terrain seems too rough. I too hesitate and resist His grasp, His leading.
As I was asking those questions, I just so happened to be reading Psalm 51 in conjunction with Genesis 19. Again, God’s word brought me to my knees. The motives of my heart were exposed. I’m first, not God. My fear is outweighing my trust. Protection of self is more important than obeying God. I have resigned to status quo Christianity.
”Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10
“Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.“ Psalm 51:12
CREATE: to bring into being: cause to exist
PURE: free from mixture with anything of a different, inferior or contaminating kind
RESTORE: bring back into existence, reestablish
SUSTAIN: to hold or bear up; to keep from giving way
A pure heart is motivated by reciprocal love. God shows His great love through the gift of salvation. Living for God and not self is an outward action of a pure heart. The fear of being made a fool of, taken advantage of or failing yet once again are the inferior motives that contaminate my pure heart toward my Jesus.
There is no amount of self-discipline that will adequately clean an impure heart. That is God’s business. He is an expert at creating pure hearts. Our business is to identify the impurities and call out for help. It takes bravery to then respond to the Holy Spirit’s work, as He grabs our hands so to speak, and tells us to run to the mountains. Fear is not always absent in those brave moments. Instead, one experiences courage, which is fear walking or running in this case.
Typically, we have no idea of God’s plans for the mountains. God may have a plan to protect you, like the angels with Lot. Or God’s plan may have nothing to do with you. His plan may be to move you to the mountains, so that He can flow through you and into the lives of others who live in the mountains.
By the power of the Holy Spirit at work in you, may your “I can’t…!” grow into, “I can’t help but to obey You, God!” And may you find yourself running out of sheer obedience.
As I write this blog, my heart cries out, “Make me brave! Show me what I need to surrender. Free and empower me to run to the mountains! Use me in the mountains, Lord. Use me in the mountains! But mostly, make my heart purely devoted to you, my Savior.”
“Run my friend, run to the mountains!”
Thrive Leadership Foundation