How blessed we would be if we would learn early on that when God says no, he means no, and he has good reasons for his decisions.
If Balaam the prophet had taken heed to this, his permanent record might be different. Instead, he will always be remembered as a traitor of God. With wrong motives, he approached God for permission to proceed after earlier receiving a firm “no” to the same request, and he received a grieved and reluctant “yes” from God only to soon be rebuked by a speaking donkey.
The point is that we should not be pursuing certain things, and that asking for permission doesn’t make unrighteous acts any more righteous. It only shows our ignorance of and disregard of God’s holiness and goodness.
To continue: we need to cultivate the art of asking for good things, permission to do noble things, and for wisdom to avoid questionable quests.
For example: May I have more time with you in prayer and scripture study? May I have the grace to do more good for others? Please, may I share your heart and mind?
It is not enough to avoid evil; we must cultivate virtue, or the vacuum created by the exit of one bad habit will just invite back in even worse habits.
To conclude: it is a high and holy calling, this thing called Christianity, and it must not be taken lightly.
Taking the Lord’s name in vain doesn’t always concern our misuse of speech, but rather our misuse of our lives.
We who share his name must be careful to avoid all evil and to pursue only good, if we want to deserve our Father’s favor and pleasure.
What does it profit anyone if we live a half-hearted life of self preoccupation? If we do, we will find that the world has no use for us and neither does the Father.
Then, where would we turn for comfort when the storms of life assail us? As Randy Travis sings in one of his songs: “Find the Lord before you need him.” Words to live by!
~ Brad Heilhecker