Act out of who you are not what you feel.
In Exodus Chapter 20 God reveals much about His goodness, mercy, character, and His Very Heart.
In Verse 1 some of the Israelite leaders came to Ezekiel asking for guidance from God. No doubt they wanted to see if they could get information as to how long it would be before things got better for Israel again.
But God gave Ezekiel a stirring message to give them. If you read the whole 20th Chapter, you will see that for most of it God was telling them He was disgusted with their actions. We will look specifically at 6 verses out of this chapter.
Ezekiel 20: 8-10 MSG
But they rebelled against me, wouldn’t listen to a word I said. None got rid of the vile things they were addicted to. They held on to the no-gods of Egypt as if for dear life. I seriously considered inflicting my anger on them in force right there in Egypt. Then I thought better of it. I acted out of who I was, not by how I felt. And I acted in a way that would evoke honor, not blasphemy, from the nations around them, nations who had seen me reveal myself by promising to lead my people out of Egypt. And then I did it. I led them out of Egypt into the desert.
Ezekiel 20: 13-14
But Israel rebelled against me in the desert. They didn’t follow my statutes. They despised my laws for living well and obediently in the ways I had set out. And they totally desecrated my holy Sabbaths. I seriously considered unleashing my anger on them right there in the desert. But I thought better of it and acted out of who I was, not by what I felt, so that I might be honored and not blasphemed by the nations who had seen me bring them out.
Then again at the end of the chapter in verse 44 God speaks the same phrase again.
44 “‘But, dear Israel, you’ll also realize that I am God when I respond to you out of who I am, not by what I feel about the evil lives you’ve lived, the corrupt history you’ve compiled. Decree of God, the Master.’”
If you have been in church for any length of time, you have heard about how the Israelites disobeyed God and didn’t get to enter into the Promised Land for 40 years. If they had listened to and obeyed God, in less than 2 years they would have been getting ready to possess the land of Canaan.
God had specifically chosen this land because of its beauty and fertile soil. There was no land around that could compare to its greatness and abundance. When God blesses something He does it very well. Even today I couldn’t imagine a cluster of grapes being so large and heavy that two men had to attach it to a pole and then carry each end of the pole on their shoulders.
The nations around Israel worshipped many heathen gods. They had a different god for each area of their lives. Many of the people had small statues that symbolized each god in a prominent place in their home. They wanted to appease these gods so they could have a good life.
He called the Israelites to live a completely different life than those around them. God wanted them to be a blazing torch for truth so there would be no doubt who was the One True God.
But the Israelites never seemed to grasp the fact that they MUST abandon their old way of life in order to accept this new and better way. BUT they had become so ingrained in the old way that they didn’t want to open their hearts and minds to change.
The Israelites did the same thing by clinging to their old ways even though they had been miserable in them.
We seem to have selective thinking about the past and choose to only remember the good things. They quickly forgot about their unbearable condition of slavery that had made them cry out for help in the first place.
What is really deep-down inside your heart will always come out when you least expect it.
So for those of us who have accepted Jesus as our Savior and the only way to Heaven, we should live in a much different way than those around us. That is certainly what God was trying to teach the Israelites.
- When things happen that you don’t expect,
- when a friend lets you down,
- or when disappointing or even devastating things happen,
- you need to act out of who you are, not what you feel.
When we accept Christ as Savior, the Holy Spirit immediately starts to work in our lives to help us grow and mature to a deeper level. Usually the way this happens is for things to come our way that are out of our control. Then we must decide whether we will run to God for help or run away from Him and try to handle it ourselves.
The Holy Spirit wants to mature you to the point that your feelings don’t control how you act. You make the choice to act based on the wisdom you already have, and you immediately pray for specific wisdom to handle this situation in a way that is pleasing to God.
If you do things in this way, you won’t have to look back with regret that you should have handled things differently. The next time something unexpected happens, be sure to act out of WHO YOU ARE not WHAT YOU FEEL!
This post written by Cathy Deaton.
Please check out my other sites:
How To Deal With A Selfish Person
Handbook for Victorious Christian Living
Blueprint for Victorious Christian Living
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