You have no idea the incredible work of God you circumvent every time you shrug off His invitation to join Him in His work. I meet people all the time who are desperate for God to work in their lives. They pray and ask and wait earnestly for a response. Often I meet these people when they are at their lowest and are most ready for God to move in their lives. But once they hear what it is they expect of them, they find some excuse to not respond to His invitation. His standard is not high and His invite is not complicated. Often it is a request to engage with the Word in a deeper way. Many times it involves connecting with the Church in a more serious way. Almost always it involves letting go of some sin they’ve held onto for decades. Whatever the case, the desperation is not as serious as it seemed days before and they walk away. We have no idea the works of God we circumvent by disregarding His invitations to come with Him.
If I could plead with you for one thing today it would be this: don’t ignore God any longer. I know you love Him and love to worship Him. I know you read your Bible and pray. But I also know how easy it is to allow a hard heart to form in us. We can go through the motions of Christianity for years and never really experience God. It’s in those deep, dark moments I just described that we find out where our hearts really are. Are you willing to walk away from something you cherish in order to see God work in your life? Are you willing to experience embarrassment or pain if that is what He invites you to? Are you willing to adjust your schedule or your fun for the purpose of experiencing Him? If not, you most likely will not have that moment with God we all desire. You will go on living your life just as you have before with no new change or move of God, wondering where He is and why you are here. All because you are unwilling to submit fully to Him.
There is a story about a man named Gehazi in the Old Testament book of 2nd Kings. He is the servant of Elisha the prophet. His job allowed Gehazi the opportunity to witness a number of mighty acts of God. One of those was the healing of the Syrian army official, Naaman. Naaman had leprosy. If you know anything about the disease, you know it is a flesh deteriorating death sentence that is incredibly painful. This courageous man of valor was being eaten alive. His desperation led him to seek out Elisha. His pride caused him to linger before he was healed. In the end, Elisha told him to bathe in the Jordan river, a river this official considered beneath him to enter. His traveling companions convinced him to bathe in the waters and the obedience resulted in his healing.
As soon his body was restored, Naaman returned to the house of Elisha with offers of wealth. Elisha wanted the soldier to be very aware that it was not him who restored his health, but God. Elisha refused any and all gifts. However, as soon as Naaman leaves, Gehazi, who seems to have been eavesdropping, runs after him and changes the story. “My master has sent me to tell you that two young prophets…have just arrived. He would like 75 pounds of silver and two sets of clothing to give to them.” We all know no such men came to Elisha. Gehazi saw a chance to get him some ill-gained treasure and took it. He short cut the ways of God with his own greed.
Naaman gave him 150 pounds of silver (twice the amount he asked for!) and two changes of clothes. Gehazi ran home, hid the loot and when Elisha confronted him about it he answered “I haven’t been anywhere!” But God knows the wanderings of the hearts of men. He isn’t blind to our cheating and scheming. Gehazi was quickly found out. His punishment was to assume Naaman’s leprosy.
How many of us today are walking around with aching hearts, paralyzed limbs and stunted growth because we shortcut what the Lord is doing in our lives? Don’t ignore the Lord today. He is prompting you to go deeper in with Him. Do it! He is asking you to set some desire aside that isn’t worthy of Him. Do it! Don’t settle for less than Him. Don’t choose, just because it’s hard or something that sounds uncomfortable, to ignore Him again. Don’t keep taking the shortcuts when He expects you to stick with Him. You never know the incredible work you cheat yourself out of by checking out when it gets hard. Gehazi learned the hard way. You don’t have to be like that. Take a lesson from the man with the leprosy: Go with God. It’s always better.