Perilous Times and Spiritual Adultery
by Jon Hanna
Life is full of trials, trouble and tribulations that with responsibilities often accumulate with age. Things like health, business, financial and relationship burdens often weigh heavy on us. Now, with the condition that the world is in today, fears and anxious thoughts increase. It's no little wonder that the world is going crazy.
In Luke Chapter 10, we learn that Martha was so busy trying to serve Jesus that she avoided that which was good and needful for her. While Martha's sister Mary sat with Jesus to hear his words, Martha appeared to have an excellent servant's spirit. However, she exposed her real condition by complaining to Jesus about her sister Mary who wasn't helping her.
Jesus cut to the root of the problem and answered Martha's complaint by saying, 'you are worried and troubled about many things'. He added that 'one thing is needed' and 'Mary has chosen that good part'.
Jesus wasn't impressed that Martha was busy serving Him and others. He saw that she had a great and pressing need. She needed to hear His counsel, His wisdom, His words of peace and comfort. Her close friendship with Jesus was being replaced by her anxious and busy service. Before Martha could be truly an effectual servant of Jesus, she first needed to allow Jesus to serve her. She needed Jesus to help her get freed of her anxious and troubled thoughts. God created us to bring Him praise but He also created us for fellowship. Martha was too busy serving Jesus to make time to fellowship with Jesus.
Our love for God was born when we learned that He loved us so much and gave His Son Jesus to die for our sins. We drank of His mercy and grace. We basked in His peace and joy. We surrendered to God, and He removed our burdens and sins. We fell in love with Him. The sky was bluer, the grass was greener and life never looked so good. We began to get serious about knowing Jesus. We sought Him and His word with great expectation. Our relationship with God began as we reciprocated His love. We loved Him more than anyone or anything.
In many marriages, the covenant to love one another for better or worse was probably made out of tradition rather than a heart-felt agreement to really love when things get worse. In those cases, the married couple eventually goes through the motions of marriage, yet without any real unity, with little to no healthy communication. Their affections for each other turn to other things or other people. What looks alive is really dying or dead. (Thank God, He specializes in raising the dead.)
Often, as in a bad marriage, during times of trials, troubles and tribulations, many Christians question God's love, God's power and God's plan. The relationship gets strained and fellowship with God wanes. Like the Hebrews trying to find their own way to God's promised land, many begin to trust themselves rather than God. They trust their good intentions, and their good works, rather than God, to bring them through the dry seasons of life. Instead of looking to God to satisfy their longing soul, they seek satisfaction through other means and ways. Rather than being satisfied with God and His Kingdom, they become hungry for this world and the things in it.
In Revelations chapter 2, Jesus sends a message to the Church in Ephesus and congratulates them for their works and labor that they've done for His name's sake. However, He rebukes them immediately thereafter because they have left their First Love. He warns them that they had better repent and do the first works, or else He will come quickly and remove their lamp stand from its place, unless they would repent. (Many churches and ministries are currently in great danger of losing their place with God.)
The Church of Ephesus was a genuine church of God. They were praised by Jesus, because they knew the difference between those who were true apostles and those who were not. He praised them for hating the deeds of a people of false doctrine. But their hatred of sin as well as their ability to recognize truth from a lie did not exempt them from this strong warning. Even their good works done for Jesus' namesake didn't stop Jesus from warning them to repent. They were about to lose their lamp stand because they left their First Love.
The lamp stands that God speaks of are fueled by oil. Oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit of God is a special blessing for Christians. He comforts us. The Holy Spirit also teaches us and guides us. He illuminates the way. But if we're not listening for God's direction, if we're not sensitive to the Holy Spirit leading us to intimacy with God, we will lose what we do not use. Your soul can really only be satisfied through your relationship with God. When you look to other things to satisfy and comfort you more than God, you're committing spiritual adultery. It's time to look to God. It's time to talk to God. It's time to listen to God.
God is ready to comfort you. He wants to be the one to satisfy your soul with His good things. He's your deliverer from every fear and oppression. He desires to meet your every need. He will finish what He started in you, and His work of righteousness in the world. His grace is sufficient for you. God is jealous for you. He loves you. He's able and ready to heal your every disease and remove your every sin. He's the lover of your soul and the lifter of your head, and He's ready to come into your life with all of His power and Love. He longs to reveal His faithfullness to you.
It's time to return to your First Love.
Prayer: Lord, help me to desire to know You as I should. A relationship with you is more important than my good works and good intentions. Help me to spend quality time in prayer with you. Help me to hear your voice. Help me to be sensitive to your Holy Spirit. Help me to fall in love with you again, to hear your counsel and to know your comfort. Help me to give you obedience rather than sacrifice. Help me to trust you with my whole life. Take my burdens and release me from my fears. Help me to follow you closely. I desire a daily relationship of sweet fellowship with you. You are God alone and you are able to save, deliver and heal. I give you all praise, dear God. In Jesus name I give you praise! You are a faithful God. You care for me, and the world.
Thank you for helping me to trust you and not letting circumstances and situations overwhelm me. Thank you for removing all my burdens and fears. Forgive me for trusting myself and the ways of the world, more than you. Forgive me for loving other people and things more than you. Thank you for cleansing me from hurtful and wrong desires. Thank you for showing me the way to freedom and setting me free. Thank you for being patient and longsuffering. I will follow you. I will wait on you. I will rest in you. I will look only to you to satisfy my soul with good things, and to perform your promises in the earth. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done.