Sleeping With the Enemy

Wayne Cordeiro

"But you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble ... (Malachi 2:8-9)
We don't live in vacuums. No, not the kind that picks up the lint on your carpet. Rather, we don't live as isolated units where what we do never affects anyone else. I heard it just the other day when a fowl mouthed teenager was asked to refrain, he defiantly replied to the restaurant manager, "Hey, I ain't hurting nobody."

God spoke to the people of Israel. " ... you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble"

They had to become more cognizant of how they affected people around them. No, God is not talking about being driven by what others think of you. He is talking about us being aware that how we live, even in private, will affect others. It is not just by how we perform under the footlights. It is who we are on the inside and what drives our decisions, our words, our attitudes. But if we are not compelled by a deep love and respect for God, it will show in everything we do.

By the way, that combination (deep love and respect for God) is what the Bible defines as the "fear of God." Both the Psalmist David (Ps. 111:10) and his son Solomon (Pr. 9:10) say that. "The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom."

(Solomon must have heard it a lot from his father while growing up).

So where was the beginning of the slide for the Israelites?

"You have turned from the way."

The way of what?

The ways of God. His principles, His priorities, His instructions. His Word gives us the foundational starting point of life, not the reach point. His Word gives us the beginnings, the unquestionable core values of our hearts, not the begrudging duty a Christian has to comply with.

His ways are to be my delight, not my penalty. My first choice, not my last resort.
And when I drift from His ways and it becomes something "normal," I cause question marks to increase in the minds of others... even those closest to me. And when question marks increase, it's probably not because of the devil. In fact, often, the devil can take a vacation because we as inconsistent Christians will be doing his work for him ... just fine.
Dear Father, Please help me to make your Word my ways, Your principles my delight, and Your statues as the unquestionable core values that direct every decision in my life. IJN

Devotions for October 15

Nehemiah 13
Malachi 1,2
Acts 4

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