Seek First

While teaching at Talbot School of Theology a young lady called me from the other side of the country asking for help. She said that she had deep personal problems and was plagued by condemning and blasphemous thoughts. I said I would give her a half day (an offer I can’t make anymore) if she wanted to fly to California.

She had some deep spiritual issues. I was glad the airplane stayed in the air with her in it! After she shared her story she quoted 3 John 2, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health.” Why isn’t God doing that for me, she asked? I said, I think you need to finish the verse, which reads, “just as your soul prospers.” You have had two abortions, and have tried three times to kick a drug addiction. I remember thinking at the time that the verse was working!

God wants your soul to prosper first. Then everything else falls into order. The same reasoning follows for Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Isn’t that great Christian? God is going to give you the desires of your heart. That is a promise of God. Claim it now and if it doesn’t happen you are not believing hard enough! What rubbish! You are supposed to delight yourself in the Lord first, then He will give you the desires of your heart. If you don’t do that first, your desires will be springing from your flesh, and you will never be able to satisfy those desires. The more you try, the more the flesh grows. If you delight yourself in the Lord, your desires will change. You will desire love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, which is the fruit of the Spirit. What has more value to you than the fruit of the Spirit?

Suppose you told your son to mow the lawn and he didn’t do it. His rebellious nature has caused a rift between the two of you. Then he says, Hey Dad, I have a hot date tonight. I need the keys to the car, and twenty dollars. Would you give him the keys and the twenty dollars? Would God? I don’t think so. I believe God would look very lovingly at His son and say, You need to get right with me first, mow the lawn like I asked, and then we will talk about your “hot date.” If the son actually did that, he may realize the “hot date,” isn’t the best idea after all.

Dr. Neil

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