READING: Isaiah 45-48
It really doesn’t make a lot of sense not to follow God. Think about it. He loves us. He wants to use us for His glory. He knows what is right for us. He fills us with His joy when we obey Him. He desires that we experience peace. Yet, so many believers don’t have that experience. I wonder why that is.
Isaiah helps us answer that question. God had taught His people, but they would not listen: “This is what the Lord says — your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: ‘I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, you well-being like the waves of the sea'” (Isa 48:17-18).
God teaches us what is best for us, but we’ve allowed far too many “if only” situations in our walk with God. If only I had fought harder against that temptation. If only I would have been more patient and trusted God in finding me a new job. If only I hadn’t committed that sin. If only I had put Him first. If only I had shared the gospel with him. If only I’d accepted God’s personal call on my life. If only I would have prayed more. If only I’d been more committed to reading the Word. And like the Israelites, if only I’d paid attention to His commands.
If only . . . if only . . . if only . . . I have those statements and those situations, too, you know. If only I had told someone about my lust and pornography battles during my teenage years. If only I’d listened to God’s Word rather than to my heart when I wrongly got engaged many years ago. If only I’d sought God more before making that ministry move. …
The problem with most “if only” statements is that we don’t even think about the “if only” options until after we’ve paid a price for our disobedience — and then look at what we lost because of our sin. I know God’s grace trumps our “if only” situations, but I do wonder how much joy I’ve lost over the years when I paid too little attention to His commands. What about you?
- Review your spiritual journey, and note any “if only” situations that come to mind.
- When temptation comes today, think immediately, “if only I follow God right now, I can have peace.” Then, make the right decision.
PRAYER: “Lord, grant me grace to make godly choices today. I don’t want any more negative ‘if only’ situations in my life.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Isaiah 49-53