Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments and His ordinances and His statutes. –Deuteronomy 8:11
The pathway to God’s discipline in your life always begins with an improper view of God. The problem is not that we don’t believe in God; it is that we believe in a god of our own making.
Another milestone on the road to discipline is an improper view of ourselves. We believe that the good things that happen to us are the result of our good behavior, our hard work, or just plain luck rather than seeing the good things in our lives as gifts from God.
The Israelites made that mistake. In Deuteronomy 8:11-14, Moses said, “Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments and His ordinances and His statutes which I am commanding you today; otherwise, when you have eaten and are satisfied, and have built good houses and lived in them, and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and gold multiply, and all that you have multiplies, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” Do you know the time you and I are most likely to turn away from God? It is when our health is good. It is when the bank account is full. It is when everything at our work is going great. It is when our family is living in harmony. Those are the times we are most likely to say, “Who needs God? Everything is going fine just as it is.” David said in Psalm 119:67, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word.” When David fell into sin with Bathsheba, it was when everything in the kingdom was going well. That was when he disobeyed God. It was only after he suffered the discipline of God that David fell in line and started walking with God. I believe many times the reason God turns our world upside down is to remind us that we are wholly dependent upon Him. The path that leads to God’s discipline begins with an improper view of God, not understanding His holiness and zero-tolerance for sin. And then it moves to an improper view of ourselves, thinking that we are self-sufficient.
The path to God’s discipline is also marked by an improper view of others. The essence of idolatry is depending on other people or other things to fill the place in our heart that only God can fill. There is one sin that God is certain to punish every time, and it is the sin of idolatry. God hates idolatry. He hates when we look to anyone or anything else to satisfy our need in life. Why is that? It is because God is a jealous God. Does that bother you to hear that God is a jealous God? Are you ever tempted to think, “What is wrong with God?” Our jealousy is built on selfishness, but God’s jealousy arises out of His loving nature. God loves us, He created us, and He knows that we will only truly be satisfied by Him. That is why He is jealous of anything or anyone else that attempts to replace Him in our lives. God loves you too much to allow you to get away with worshipping something that ultimately will not satisfy you.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “New Year . . . New Choices” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2015.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.