January 20, 2021 — Don’t Hold Your Breath!

“I was standing in the checkout line at Al’s Grocery Store yesterday,” Stan began, “and I saw something that reminded me of some foolish people who are mentioned in the Book of Acts, some people who have shown me a valuable lesson for my faith walk.”

“How so?” I replied.

“In front of me, there was a young mother with a little boy who was probably about five.  The child wanted one of the candy bars that are so enticingly located right there while you wait in line.”

“Did the mother buy him one?”

“She did not.  And what the child did reminded me of what I am not to do.”

Continuing, Stan added, “The child told his mom that if she didn’t buy him the candy bar he was going to hold his breath until he died.”

“Oh, I’ve heard that before!  Did the mother give in?”

“No,” Stan replied.  “And as the child got redder and redder and just about burst from holding his breath, I think he lost his desire for the candy bar.”

“So,” I asked, “were there some people in the Bible who held their breath for a candy bar?”

“No,” Stan replied, “but they did something similar.  “This was another time when some of the Jews were really mad at the apostle Paul and wanted to kill him so he would stop talking about Jesus.”

Continuing, he said, “A bunch of the Jews formed a pact and took an oath among themselves that they would not eat or drink anything until they had killed Paul.”

“How did that work out?” I asked.

“The Bible doesn’t say specifically, but since they didn’t kill Paul, I guess they got really hungry and thirsty before they died.”

“Or maybe they decided they had taken a foolish oath,” I said.

“That’s a pretty good guess,” Stan replied.  “And that’s the lesson for me.  Don’t make any foolish oaths, threats, or promises that I can’t or won’t fulfill.”

“Such as what?” I asked.

“Telling God that if He will do such and such for me, I will do such and such for Him.”

“Or,” Stan added, “how foolish would it be for me to tell God that if He doesn’t do what I want I’m never going to talk to Him again!”

“After all,” he concluded, “God is God; I’m not.  And I’m not supposed to pretend that I can tell God what to do!  His will is going to be done and His purposes are going to be accomplished.  Period.  My only role is to join Him in what He’s doing!”

_______________________________________

Bible verses to consider:

And when it was day, the Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves under an oath, saying that they would neither eat nor drink until they had killed Paul.  And there were more than forty who formed the plot.  Act of the Apostles 23:12, 13.

Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black.  But let your statement be, “Yes, yes” or “No, no”; and anything beyond those is of evil.  Matthew 5:36, 37.

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Matthew 6:10.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, that you allow me to come before you in prayer.  Thank you, too, for showing me that your will is going to be done and that your purposes are going to be accomplished regardless of what I do or do not do.  I confess that too often I seek to make demands that you respond to what I want.  Please forgive that foolishness.  And please, Father, lead me in my prayers and in my responses to you so that I truly treat you as Lord God Almighty.  Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Think on this:  Have you ever made a demand on God that He do or not do something in accordance with your will?  If so, what was that all about, and how did it work out?  Do you think it’s important to seek the leading of the Holy Spirit in what you pray?  Why or why not? What about God, does He think that’s important? 

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