Girlfriends in God - Aug. 31, 2009

August 31, 2009
Learning The Hard Way
Mary Southerland

Today's Truth

"So do not be foolish with your lives.  But learn what the Lord wants you to do.  Ephesians 5:17" (ICB).

Friend To Friend

There is only one thing more painful than learning from experience - and that is not learning from experience.  Life is a journey, not a destination. It is through that journey that we are born, broken, changed and shaped. God is big on learning the lessons of life because life is His chosen classroom through which He teaches His children His truth.  One of the first and most vital truths we need to learn in our walk with God is obedience.

Truth does not change!  We must change in response to the truth!  A learned truth is an applied truth and when we apply truth, we are practicing obedience.  When we don't learn from our wayward steps, we are doomed to make the same mistakes again, falling back into disobedience.  It is like climbing the same old mountain again and again!

Dan served as Youth Pastor for many years in South Florida.  Each summer, we took the youth on a mission trip to the mountains of North Carolina where they conducted youth rallies in parks, taught back yard Bible Clubs and held worship services in local churches.  Everyone worked hard, but each afternoon was free time.  We all piled into a rickety old school bus and headed for the mountains to play.  Our favorite mountain activity was tubing.  One year a pastor told us about a tubing company tucked up in the mountains on Lake Lure, assuring us that the crowds were small, the price was right and the ride was incredible.  Off we went!

We soon discovered why it was such a great deal.  You couldn't find the place!  We got so completely lost - several times.  After two hours of searching, we finally found the tubing company and had a great, but short ride.  As we headed back to our hotel, one of the counselors wisely suggested that we write down the directions so that we would have them each year.  Great idea!

The next summer, everyone was excited about tubing at our new spot - until we discovered that no one had actually written down the directions - and once again, we got lost, wasting an hour of valuable tubing time. I took matters in hand, grabbed a piece of paper and wrote down detailed directions.

The following summer, we were half way to Lake Lure and the mapped out tubing spot when we discovered that we had indeed documented the directions but had left them at the hotel.  Once again, we went around that same old mountain, wasting time and energy until we found the tubing place.  I looked at Dan and said, "We must be slow learners!"

I am afraid that our Father looks at us many times and with a broken heart wonders, "Why are they so slow to learn and practice my Truth?"  In order to learn the ways of God we have to know the Truth of God.  Saturating our lives with Scripture is essential to finding and doing the will of God.  The Bible is the road map, the blue print and the ultimate plan for our journey. 

As we begin to walk in the right direction we must not only have the right directions for today, we must go back and destroy those paths of yesterday that once led us in the wrong direction.  Eliminating wrong choices makes the right choices much easier to make.  Some of those old paths are familiar and may be hard to uproot.  A friendship may have to be ended.  A behavior pattern may have to be changed.  A habit may have to be eliminated. But if it leads to sin, if it makes it easier to sin, if it entices or tempts you to sin, run from it now!  Don't go around that same old mountain of wrong choices again.  Learn the lesson and choose obedience.

Let's Pray

Father, I am so tired of going around the same old mountains of defeat and failure in my life.  I am afraid of being lost and without direction.  Right now, I choose Your ways.  Please lead me in them.  Help me to see and turn from anyone or anything that would keep me from learning and then obeying Your truth. 
In Jesus' name, 

Now It's Your Turn  

  • Make a commitment to learn whatever lessons God has for you today. Right now, choose obedience and ask the Holy Spirit to give discernment and power to make the right choices. 
  • Ask God for the wisdom to identify the "old" ways and the strength to turn from anyone or anything that makes it easy to disobey the new ways.
  • What "new" ways do you need to put in the place of the old ways?
  • What part does the Holy Spirit and the Word of God play in our ability to be obedient? 

More From The Girlfriends

I pray that today's devotion will encourage you to take that step of obedience that you have been flirting with.  Don't waste another day of your precious journey by fighting the same old fights.  Step into a new land of victory!

Be sure to drop by Mary's online store to browse through books, CDs, MP3 downloads, E-Bible Studies and even special gift items.  And don't miss her weekly online bible study, How to Find Your Missing Peace.   

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Originally published Monday, 31 August 2009.