1. Self


Pitfall 1: Self

"We are our own worst enemy"

We have seen that death to self is a requirement for following Christ. 

But we are so prone to falling into this pitfall of letting self get in the way of being fruitful.




In the Preface, I said that after responding to the Lord's call as a teenager, I've been looking for somewhere to go and something to do ever since. During this time of uncertainty, between jobs and facing this question in a very practical way, I have been tossing to and fro about my future and not getting any clear answers. In conversing with a friend, a practical answer came: "You have to do two things: 1. Decide what you want to do, and 2. Do it!" I agreed that this was sound advice, because I recognised my tendency to drift along indecisively, with a vague hope that the Lord will clearly open doors I'm not even knocking on, and open a way for me. 

But a few days later, it struck me: "Hang on! Remember what you wrote in that Preface last week? And remember Jonah! Perhaps this whole period of uncertainty regarding the future, is an opportunity for you to stop, and listen so that the Lord can speak to you and SECOND time! Perhaps you have been running away from where the Lord has been asking you to go, and what He has been asking you to do. Maybe all my previous attempts to build music ministries have been my own ideas, my pursuit of Joppa rather than Nineveh."

So it hit me again, that the question is not that I should "Decide what I want to do" but rather I must "Discern what God wants me to do!" - then DO IT!

(Jonah 2:2-10 NIV) He said: "In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry. 
You hurled me into the deep, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me. I said, 'I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.' 
The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. 
To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you brought my life up from the pit, O LORD my God. "When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple. 
"Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. 
But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the LORD." 
And the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.

(Jonah 3:1-3 NIV) Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time: 
"Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you." 
Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very important city--a visit required three days.

Jonah responded by

bullet...look again toward Your holy temple...
bulletwith a song of thanksgiving
bulletsacrifice to the Lord...
bulletvowed to make good..
bulletobeyed the word of the Lord
bullet...went to Nineveh.

Saul of Tarsus, who became Paul, went through this. In his obedience to the Heavenly Vision, he had to:

bulletget up
bulletand listen for the instructions as to what he was to do.

So the essence of my friend's original advice is still sound, in that my tendency to remain passive is a blockage to progress, and indeed I do still need to decide and act! But the decision I need to make is not what I want to do - That is the same as I've always wanted:

bulletcompose, conduct, teach music ministry, touch people's lives
bulletencourage, edify...
bullettravel, provide for family...

Rather the decision I need to make is to turn to the Lord, daily seek Him, listen, discern His voice, and get up, and go, and in faith, wait for the next instruction as to where to go and what to do! Then DO IT!

(Micah 6:8-9 NIV) He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. {9} Listen! The LORD is calling to the city-- and to fear your name is wisdom-- "Heed the rod and the One who appointed it.

(Acts 22:10-11 NIV) "'What shall I do, Lord?' I asked. "'Get up,' the Lord said, 'and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.' {11} My companions led me by the hand into Damascus, because the brilliance of the light had blinded me.

(2 Chr 20:12 NIV) O our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you."

...more thoughts coming...


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