By Leah Adams
My husband and I once had a neighbor who had several dogs. Most of the dogs lived outside and were really just yard dogs---except for Chester, a beautiful chocolate Labrador!! Chester was different. Chester belonged to another family in our county as a puppy. The first family treated Chester well and took good care of him, but Chester liked to roam. That’s how he ended up at our neighbor’s house. Chester roamed so regularly over to our neighbor’s house that eventually the first family gave Chester to our neighbors.
After coming to live with our neighbors, Chester became an inside dog. Eating inside, sleeping inside, going to work with our neighbors, riding in the truck with our neighbors---Chester led a nice life. One day my husband told me he saw Chester roaming the neighborhood ---alone. Sounds like Chester got out of the house and went back to his old roaming ways!! As he was telling me about seeing Chester, my husband said something that caused me stop and ponder. His words, in reference to Chester, were something like, ‘Crazy dog, he’s got it made and he still runs off when they let him out.’
Chester is not so different from you and me, I fear. I’m reminded of a passage of Scripture in Isaiah that relates to roaming. Isaiah 48:17-18 (NIV) says,
“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, your righteousness like the waves of the sea.”
As Christians, we belong to God; we have access to Him and His wisdom and knowledge. Ideally, we live within his protection and authority, and His Word and the Holy Spirit feed us and teach us. We rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Following His commands brings peace and contentment. We have it made living in the presence of the Almighty. But, like Chester, we are prone to roam and we get out of the presence of God. What do I mean? Let’s think about it.
As long as I spend time each day with God by studying His Word and praying, I am living within His presence. How easy it is, however, to decide that I don’t have time one day to spend that time with the Lord. The next day it becomes even easier to talk myself out of spending time with Him. Soon, I don’t have the Word of God foremost in my mind and I’m not feeling very close to God because of my lack of time spent with Him.
Before long, other areas of my life show evidence of my lack of time with Jesus. My speech may not be pleasing to God. My actions may not be pleasing to God. My thoughts certainly are not pleasing to God. In just a matter of days, I’m out roaming Satan’s neighborhood—the world. Oh, I may not be doing anything “bad”, but I’m sure not walking closely with the Lord. I’ve chosen to roam and God allows me to make that choice. Fortunately, He also allows me to make the choice to return to tender fellowship with Him.
At this point in my relationship with Christ, I recognize pretty quickly that I’ve roamed and head back home to the safety and peace of time spent each day in the Word and in prayer. I would like to think that I’ve got it together when it comes to living the Christian life, but those times of roaming show me that I can’t do it in my own strength. It scares the living daylights out of me to think how quickly I could fall into deep sin without the daily presence of Christ.
What about you? Do you occasionally slip out of the presence of God and roam the neighborhood of the world on your own? It is my prayer that when that happens to us, we would quickly run back into the safety and peace of His presence. We need to go back to where we’ve got it made!!
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Speaker and author Leah Adams is the founder of The Point Ministries. Her passion is for others to understand the grace and second chances offered by Jesus to all who ask. She is a CLASS certified speaker and the author of From the Trash Pile to the Treasure Chest: Creating a Godly Legacy Bible study. Leah is a regular contributor at CBN.com and Internet Café Devotions. She and her husband, Greg, live in northern Georgia.
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