Thursday, March 19, 2015

Diversion and Destiny

A Devotional  
By Pastor Anton Bosch

Paul writes about the devil that “we are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Corinthians 2:11). Yet it seems that many of us are ignorant of the tricks and devices the evil one uses to thwart the plan of God. Satan knows that most of us cannot be persuaded or intimidated to give up the good fight, so he does what serves his purpose just as well – diversion. He uses many tricks to accomplish this, including pressure, temptation, weariness and obscuring the issues. As long as he can get us to focus on minor issues and not continue with what the Lord has called us to do, he is happy.

Such diversion can take many forms. Some of them are good on the surface, noble and godly things, while others are worldly things. Some of the “good” things include: overemphasizing a doctrinal viewpoint, focusing on legalism, or even getting bogged down with the things related to Christian ministry. Some of the worldly things include careers, hobbies, sports, recreation, family and possessions. The Devil will keep us busy and make us feel we are doing the right things as long as we miss the call of God on our lives.

One example of a man who seemed to fall in this trap often was Saul, King of Israel. First he took upon himself the role of the priest to present sacrifices, when he had been called to be the King (1Samuel 13:9). Then he was tricked into sparing Agag when his instructions were to destroy all of Amalek (1Samuel 15:8). Finally he wasted the rest of his reign hunting David instead of fighting the real enemies. No wonder Saul came to the end of his life and cried these pitiful words: “I have played the fool and erred exceedingly” (1Samuel 26:21). It has to be the most disappointing thing to come to the end of your life and realize that you just wasted the one life God gave you – on trivialities! May I plead with you, my brother and sister: you have one life and one shot at fulfilling your destiny. Don’t allow the devil to rob you of God’s high calling.

Paul, on the other hand, had even more opposition, and temptation to take a side road. But he persisted in doing only what he had been commissioned to do by the Lord. There were the Jews who pressured him to perform miracles. And the Greeks wanted him to display some of his brilliant intelligence and argue with them over philosophical issues. He did not acquiesce to either of them, but insisted that his calling was simply to preach the Cross, and this he did with all his being (1Corinthians 1). At other times Paul was so beaten up, stoned and ridiculed that it seemed impossible to continue. But again he displayed a singular commitment to complete the purpose for which he had been saved.

When Paul felt that the Lord had called him to preach to the emperor in Rome, his well-meaning friends tried to prophesy him away from his destiny while others clung to him, begged him and wept over him. But Paul was committed to do what the Lord had saved him for to the very end. Not even the prospect of prison and death could deter him. Paul could not be bribed, discouraged, tempted or beaten into a diversion, not even for a single moment. He summed his attitude up like this: “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). Unlike Saul the King, this man Paul came to the end and boldly declared: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day” (2 Timothy 4:7). What a difference! Will you be like Saul or like Paul?

Let me also remind you of our Ultimate Example – Jesus. He came for one purpose and that was to do the will of the Father and to finally die on the Cross (Hebrews 10:7-9). Every temptation and obstacle was placed in His way to divert Him from the exact path that had been chosen for Him. In the wilderness the Devil three times offered Him alternatives to the Cross. Peter, his friend tried to persuade Him not to pursue the Cross. On two occasions the mob tried to kill him. On Palm Sunday the crowd tried to crown Him as king – all in an attempt to divert him from His mission. Finally, in the Garden of Gethsemane, His own flesh cried for another way. But in all His 33 years He set His face as a flint to fulfill the call of God (Isaiah 50:7). Not for one minute did He digress but steadily made His way to Calvary, and when it was all done He cried, “It is finished.” This He shouted not in defeat but in triumph as He fulfilled every word that had been prophesied concerning Him and fulfilled every detail of the Law. Nothing was left undone or incomplete! If you had to draw a map of His life, it would be one continuous straight line from the manger to the Cross.

How does the map of our lives look today? Are we on track or are we, like the people of Israel wandering around in circles? Are we, like Saul, off chasing rabbits and indulging our pet projects, or are we like Paul, pressing towards the mark for the high call of God? We all take the wrong crossroads sometimes, but more often we take those sidetracks that seem to head in the right direction, but eventually end so far from our destination.

Where are you today? If you are not exactly where the Master wants you, doing exactly what He has called you to do, then it is time to make a correction to your course. An aircraft may be pointed in the right direction, but the wind will slowly and imperceptibly blow it off course. This is why the pilot has to check his position frequently and make corrections to his course. Don’t leave the adjustment undone. Don't wait to turn around until it is too late. Do it now while the Captain is speaking