Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Don't You Eat That Man's Biscuit

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. 
James 4:17 (ESV)

A couple of Sundays ago we opted not to try and visit a new church as we had just moved into our new house the day before. If you've ever made a big move in a short period of time, you know how long it can take to recover. The last time we did it six years ago, we didn't start driving until like 3pm on a Friday for what ended up being a 13 hour drive. We never went to sleep that night, and spent all day Saturday unpacking. Come Sunday, we woke up, ate breakfast and then had church in our living room before going promptly back to sleep. Good times.

This time around, it was our second Sunday in town, the first being the tail end of about 26 hours of driving over two days. We spent almost a week in a hotel and then moved into the house we rented on Saturday. We were exhausted, and rather than trying to face the additional stress of visiting a new church, we opted to postpone that a week. I got out to get us some breakfast, and that's when an interesting encounter started.

After buying a couple of biscuit sandwiches for myself and a burrito for Kim, I noticed a homeless guy on the street corner. I distinctly heard the Holy Spirit prompting me, "You have two sausage, egg and cheese biscuits; you need to give him one." As is so easy to do, I decided to ignore the prompting and continue driving on. Of course, God didn't leave it alone there, and I was feeling some serious conviction all the way back to the house. At one point I heard the Holy Spirit say something to the effect of, "I didn't buy that biscuit for you. Don't you eat that man's biscuit."

But it wasn't until He reminded me of James 4:17 that I finally relented. As I entered a roundabout close to my house, I heard that verse plain as day, and I kept circling around until I drove out the same point I came in. Another 4 minutes or so later, I delivered his breakfast to him and told him, "God told me to share my breakfast with you this morning."

So why did it take so long for me obey? It's not as if I wasn't really listening the first time or two. I knew what I was supposed to do. I just didn't want to. It's times like this that I can really appreciate Paul's struggle in Romans 7:

15 For I do not understand what I am doing, because I do not practice what I want to do, but I do what I hate. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 So now I am no longer the one doing it, but it is sin living in me.

Sometimes we can forget that we face a real spiritual battle inside of us. The person God is making us to be by the power of His Spirit is at war with the person we used to be. Every temptation and every conviction is an opportunity to engage in battle against our flesh. We must always be prepared to fight, and we must always be prepared to listen. If through sin and laziness we do not have the Word in our hand and our hearts, our only offensive weapon (Ephesians 6:17) is useless. On the other hand, if we fill our minds and hearts with the things of this world, then the battle can be over before we are even aware of the need to fight. I almost missed this battle because I was too concerned with satisfying my flesh.

We must strive for a state of active peacefulness before God, both ready to fight and ready to listen. Only then will we be able to slay the biscuit when it dares to oppose a soldier of God.

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity.
God is faithful, and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able,
but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape
so that you are able to bear it.
1 Corinthians 10:13