Yet they didn’t listen or pay attention but followed their own advice and according to their own stubborn, evil heart. They went backward and not forward, Jeremiah 7:24, HCSB.
We have a new addition on our farm. She is a miniature donkey and her name is Sunshine. Every morning when we head to the barn, an adorable face, framed with large dark ears and a fuzzy muzzle, greets us. “Good morning, Sunshine!” has become the morning theme as we feed all the animals and go about the morning chores.
My daughter decided to find out if Sunshine was willing to work. She put a halter and a long lead line on Sunshine and took her to the middle of the paddock. Now, most horses figure out pretty quickly that the purpose of the long lead line (lounge line) is for them to walk around the person holding it and listen to what they are telling them. But, Sunshine is not a horse, she’s a donkey, and she had her own ideas about what this exercise was going to be. When she was asked to walk forward, she would lean her head way out and extend her neck as far as it would go, but then she would sit back on her haunches and not move. Our daughter would move closer, Sunshine would go backward. Instead of Sunshine making circles around our daughter, our daughter was doing circles around Sunshine. Both of their strong wills opened up as the battle of who would make the other move forward began. Sunshine finally did one circle, but both were worn out and exhausted.
It would have been so much better if Sunshine realized this was an exercise that was different, and potentially fun, but she did not want to change. She did not want to risk giving in and trusting that our daughter would not harm her. Instead, she went backward, and exerted a lot of energy in the refusal.
Jeremiah wrote the description above about the children of Israel. He could probably write it about many Christians even today. “…they followed their own advice….” How many times has our own advice gotten us into predicaments? We have worn ourselves out, we have dug in and we have gone backward, stuck in the ruts we have made, instead of moving forward and walking in the Spirit. Let’s take an honest look at where we are, figure out what advice we are listening to that is not working and let’s make forward progress today—trusting the One who holds every day in His mighty hands. Let’s stop wasting energy in the refusal and really get moving forward.
Thought-provoker: Which direction are we moving? If we are stuck, or moving backward, ask the Holy Spirit to direct us and getting us going in the right direction. Then, let go of the stubbornness and move that way today.
Lord, thank You that You want us to move forward, not get stuck where we are or go backward. Give us the courage to drop the advice that is not working and listen to Your Spirit today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.