Free At Last

Replacing the Bad Stuff With Good Stuff

So many times we attempt to self-medicate ourselves with sin.  As one author pointed out it is like pouring water into buckets with holes and reminded me of the scripture in Jeremiah:

Jeremiah 2:13 KJ2000 For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed themselves out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

The Bible Knowledge Commentary comments:

Israel had committed two sins. The first was one of omission: she had forsaken her God. Her second sin was one of commission: she had replaced her true God with false idols. Man’s heart, like nature, abhors a vacuum. Using imagery that those residing in Judah would understand, Jeremiah compared the nation’s actions to someone abandoning a spring of living (running) water for broken cisterns. The most reliable and refreshing sources of water in Israel were her natural springs. This water was dependable; and its clear, cool consistency was satisfying. In contrast, the most unreliable source of water was cisterns. Cisterns were large pits dug into the rock and covered with plaster. These pits were used to gather rainwater. This water was brackish; and if the rains were below normal, it could run out. Worse yet, if a cistern developed a crack it would not hold the water. To turn from a dependable, pure stream of running water to a broken, brackish cistern was idiotic. Yet that is what Judah did when she turned from God to idols.

Christ is the living water, the substance of which we should fill our lives, but this does NOT mean just with religious duties.  It includes all the “good stuff” He has given to us in this life.  It is sad we religious people divide up our lives so much into compartments where we think one type activity belongs in our secular lives while another activity belongs to our religious life.  That is so sad and takes a heavy toll on our lives.

Examples:

  • Being on time to my customers appointments is just as important to God as being on time to church.
  • Cleaning my house is important to God as cleaning my heart.
  • Paying attention and having empathy for others problems is just as important as spending time with Christ in prayer and worship.
  • Holding my peace and not responding in anger – turning the other cheek and practicing  humility is just as important as fasting, giving offerings, etc.

As the scriptures say in Isaiah:

Isa 58:5-8 NLT 5 You humble yourselves by going through the motions of penance, bowing your heads like reeds bending in the wind. You dress in burlap and cover yourselves with ashes. Is this what you call fasting? Do you really think this will please the LORD?  6 “No, this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people.  7 Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help.  8 “Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the LORD will protect you from behind.

So when today’s counselors teach us how important it is to replace the bad stuff with good stuff they are teaching some of Gods rules.  And if there is one thing I have learned in life it is that with “every obedience to one of Gods rules” there is a blessing attached and with every disobedience there is a consequence attached.  So it is no wonder that science has finally discovered the truth that we all – sinner and saint alike – seek to avoid pain as we also seek to gain pleasure.  This is the way God intended for there is nothing in life that brings as much pleasure as obeying His rules and there is nothing in life that brings as much pain as disobeying His rules.

My heart is sad that so many in church still do not believe this truth.  They go to church but they are still not convinced that true happiness is experienced when we obey His rules.

For example:

A few weeks ago I was once again asking God how do I “humble myself”.  He said in His word that is my responsibility, and I believe it has a lot to do with success or failure in my life.

Shortly after that prayer, every time I got around my sister she was down-right mean to me.  It was the most aggravating experience.  This went on for a few days when God answered me.   He pointed out to me that I had asked for humility and how I could “humble myself” and He told me this was a good time to practice “turning the other cheek.”   Once I understood my role, I held my peace and kept my mouth shut every time I got around my sister.  Shortly after those experiences she mellowed out and now we are closer than ever.  As always He knows what He is doing.

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