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No April Fool Here

But now that you’ve found you don’t have to listen to sin tell you what to do, and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise! A whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more of life on the way! Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death. But God’s gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master. (Romans 6:23)

Who tells you what to do? We probably all have persons in authority within our lives that give us tasks to complete and we go off in the direction of 'doing' whatever it is we are asked to do. Bosses are probably at the top of the list - they by nature of their position are guiding the work that gets done each day. If you are a child, parents are those individuals who remind the child of the bed needing to be made, teeth requiring a little scrubbing, and toilet paper that needs replacing when they use it all up. Traffic cops expect we will observe what they tell us to do, diverting this way or that, stopping when told and then proceeding when it is our 'turn' in line. Even in nature there are bigger, more dominant animals, birds, and reptiles that seem to be 'telling' those around them what to do. I observe the larger mourning doves ward off the sparrows until they have had their own fill at the feeders - the sparrows just watching on the fence line until it is 'their turn'. If sin has been at work in our lives, telling us to go this way or that, maybe it is time we listen to a different 'authority' in our lives.

It took a while for me to figure out that I didn't need to listen to that voice of temptation telling me what to do. How about you? No, I don't have this down pat, still listening to the 'wrong voice' on occasion, but I listen less and less to it as I recognize there is a new 'authority' in my life I need to listen to instead. Sin attempts to tell us what to do, but we don't have to listen, much less heed the urging to do whatever it is we are being prompted to engage in. There is indeed a great delight in listening to the 'right' voice! Who knew it would be so rewarding to listen tot he right voice - submit to the right authority - in our lives? I appreciate that God reminds us sin is like a task-master, making us work for it, but with no real reward at the end of all that work. If you find you have listened a little bit more to the urging of the one who urges you to take steps you know better than to take, maybe it is time to allow a change of authority in your life. Sin will rule as long as you allow it to rule - you actually have to 'unseat' that authority in your life and allow the authority of Christ to become the only thing 'seated' deep within your heart and mind.

A whole, healed, put together life - is there anyone reading this that doesn't honestly want this for themselves? I know I get tired of walking around with a bag of mixed emotions, heart hurting because of what I do that doesn't honor God, and dragging around all those feelings of guilt and remorse. So, instead of dragging those things around, I have come to recognize they signal me of a problem with who is the ultimate authority in my life at that moment. It is likely me and my own sinful desires that urge me to do things that aren't in God's plan for me. I listen to the wrong voice and it loads me up with all manner of stuff that I don't want to be loaded down with. So, I choose to listen with my spiritual ears, not just the ones attached to the sides of my head! I hear God's voice in the stillness of the times I allow him to be heard. You read that right - I 'allow' God to be heard by my heart, mind, will, and emotions. I have to make time to listen - intently, with determined heart, mindful of what is being spoken to me. Remember, God never said he would speak with the loudest and most demanding voice - that is likely the task-master known as sin!

The 'put together' me is not an easy project - there are a whole lot of 'missed steps' that God has to deal with when he speaks into my life. How about you? Does he bring correction to you, as well? If so, you need to remember you are only being 'corrected' because you are being intensely loved. God's correction is always designed to bring us out from under the task-master of sin in our lives - it is love in action, delivering us from a task-master with a very loud voice, but a very evil heart. Don't reject God's quiet corrections - they are 'love taps' to get us back under the correct authority in our lives. I like that God corrects me - when my words are harsh, actions are less than honorable, or thoughts wander into places of comparison that only feed pride and envy. A healed and put-together life is one that recognizes when the voice we listened to steered us down a wrong path and the voice we hear quietly correcting us is really the only one that speaks from a place of love - the ultimate place of authority! Just sayin!

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