For the past few years, I have been attending a Friday morning small group for women. Our study topic varies from semester to semester with some women dropping out or others rejoining according to their schedule but generally we have between 10 and 20 attendees. This fall, we have been reading and discussing a book entitled "Good Or God? Why Good Without God Isn't Enough" by John Bevere. I have discovered that it is impossible for me to get through a single chapter and sometimes even a page or two without my heart being gripped as God opens my eyes to something I had not considered before or He has taken me deeper still. In many respects it has been a bit unnerving and since I am reading this along with others, I have discovered that I am not alone in my reaction.
This week, the author wrote about a time in his life when he faithfully prayed what he considered to be intense prayers from 5 a.m.-7:00 a.m. He wanted God to use him to preach the gospel to multitudes. He wanted to see healings, he wanted to see people set free and lives changed. He wanted to make an impact in this world for Christ. All of the things he was seeking were good things.
One day, however, God spoke to his heart and told him that his prayers were off target. Huh? How could they possibly be off target? These were good things!
I cried out when I read the next paragraph because it was something I had never considered. God told him that Judas had been one of the twelve disciples. Judas had been sent forth with the others to preach the Kingdom of God and heal the sick. He had done "good things" and yet in the end he was one of those who would cry out "Lord, Lord, I did such and such in your name!" only to have Jesus say, "Depart from me, for I never knew you."
Like the author, I found myself trembling as well as I considered what God had said. Am I guilty of doing the same?
What is my targeted goal? What is my true motivation for doing what I do? Am I doing it, even subconsciously, in order to bring glory to myself or glory to God? In all honesty, I must confess that just because I say and even believe that is my motivation doesn't make it so. It is far too easy for self to slip in. This is why these are critical questions to ask ourselves not just once but constantly. What is your true target?
It is far too easy for self to slip in
You are so right for the good things in life tht we considered good and proper do not matter to God. His goal is for us to be one with him and to be used by him as he directs.
This story is unnerving to me as well - it is safe to say we feel earnestly committed to what we perceive as a good and worthwhile thing, if we are getting up at 5am to pray for only that, before anything else. And yet ... all those hours invested before this man of God worked out his request was not God's calling for him. It does hammer home the truth, how easy it is to get caught up in something which is good and yet still a distraction from God's goal for us. What you mention about Judas is a big red flag, but easily overlooked.
Thanks K for sharing it.
Not twenty minutes ago I was thinking that so often I pray and then realized that I am praying not to glorify God but for myself. You are right and it is unnerving to think we can be guilty of something that is so easy to do and still so abhorrent. God save me from myself. God Bless, Phil