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Looking over your shoulder…

November 3rd, 2006

Have you ever wondered about God’s angels?  Or guardian angels?  Some type of angelic host that protects us from trouble?

There was a friend at our church that had a really bad bicycle accident, fell 15 feet from the top of a jump.  Landed on his face, and was really torn up.  He will be going through several oral surgeries.  But he will be okay, bruised and banged up, but okay.

The cynic might say, ‘Where was God when that happened?’  Or, ‘Why didn’t God do something to prevent that?’  Maybe even, ‘If an angel were physically present that would never have happened, because it never would have been attempted.’

I’m not equating x-cross biking with sin, but using it as an example.   Would things be better if God physically, manifestly intervened to prevent us from sinning?

Short answer, been there done that, didn’t make a difference.  Longer answer and mindless prattle and preaching after the break.
The big example from Scripture is the latter four books of the Pentateuch.  The presence of God was manifest always within sight of the masses of Hebrews, and yet they sinned, over and over again.

Adam in the garden was probably more aware of the presence of God that we will ever be while we suck in air, and he still fell.

Balaam, a person that was aware of God, even if he didn’t confess God as Lord and Savior, refused to heed God’s warning, before and after the donkey spoke.

The disciples in the New Testament, confessed one minute that Jesus was Lord, and the next minute worry about the rising waves of a storm.  When asked to pray with Jesus in the garden, they fell asleep.

The fact of the matter is, we are double-minded.  Our flesh, our heart, is the well from which evil springs.  Paul wrote about this problem in Romans 7:

v.21ff – So, I find the law that when I want to do good, evil is present with me.  For I delight in the law of God in my inner being.  But I see a different law in my members waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that is in my members.  Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?  Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.  (NET)

That is the daily battle waged within each one of us.  In Romans 12, Paul tells us to no longer conform to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds.  The battle isn’t a phyiscal battle, the battle is a spiritual, even mental battle.  God’s physical presence, or the manifest presence of a guardian angel won’t help.

The cure for this double-mindedness is in the cleansing power of God’s word.  We are in an extremely good situation in this present day.  We have copies of God’s written revelation available to us.  How many copies of God’s word do you have lying around the house?  I have several.  Sadly, I don’t open up that book, that love letter from God, and read and meditate on his life changing revelation as often as I should.  The power in reading the bible, isn’t the physical exercise of opening the book.  It is in the spirtual washing of our mind, as we meditate on his word.  Submitting our mind to be shaped and guided along his will by the Holy Spirit.

I find the times where I’m most subseptible to sinning, is when I’m not reading God’s word daily.  It isn’t an innoculation, I’m still as tempted as ever.  But my mind has better armor available to it, when I’ve subjected it to the workings of God’s Spirit.  The discipline of daily reading or daily meditation is one way to submit to God’s will.  There is no quick fix, just the daily grind.

We, as fallen creatures, have a wonderful ability to completely ignore our surroundings.  Romans 1 says that the Heavens declare the glory of the Lord.  Staring at the stars fills us with wonder about God’s creation.  But we are often able to totally ignore it.  We can tune it out, and forget that its there.  It is said that Great Britian has the most survaillance cameras, but crime still gets committed.

Have you ever watched MTV’s Real World, or other ‘reality games’.  Ever notice how the beginning of the season everyone knows where the camera is and is totally changing their behavior to perform?  That seems to suggest that the act of simply watching will effect behavior.  Watch longer, and you’ll notice that after a while the ‘cast’ seems to forget it is constantly being watched.  In fact some of the most revealing scenes about ‘the cast’ don’t come in the first few weeks, but in the middle section, when the daily grind has made it so that the cast has almost forgotten about the fishtank of cameras that surround them.

Paul appeals to this in Hebrews 12, exhorting us belivers to remember the ‘cloud of witnesses’ that surround us, and encourage us to run the race we run.  But we have trouble, at times, recalling that we are watched, we are exhorted, we are encouraged.  The buzy-ness of life camoflages what is important, and critical in our daily walk.  We sometimes only recall that God is with us, and for us, at the beginning and the end of each day.  Would our behavior change if we changed the way our day was?  Slowed down the pace of life a bit, and have mini-retreats that remind us of our heavenly host?  I think it might.

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.

Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself, each day has enough trouble.

Keep your mind on heavenly things, not things of this earth.


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  1. November 4th, 2006 at 19:26 | #1

    And posts like this are the entire reason I keep coming back to your site.

    Awesome post, Jon.

  2. November 4th, 2006 at 21:37 | #2

    🙂 Thanks, RK.

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