Weekly Devotional 7-11-16
Must One Hit Bottom Temporally and or Spiritually?
Recently a friend asked, “Must a person hit bottom before he turns to God?” The answer of course is no, not in every case. The Ethiopian eunuch, for instance, was a man well positioned in the government of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians (Acts 8:26-38). Lydia was a well-to-do business woman from Thyatira (Acts 16:14-15). Both were financially well positioned, and were respected. They had not hit bottom temporally speaking, however, they may have hit bottom spiritually. They both sensed that God must be worshipped, and apart from their own depravity, there was in them both a sense of desperation recognizing that they were sinners and separated from Him. They sensed that He was holy and they were not. They sensed their need of His mercy and grace but didn’t know how to gain either.
This is true of all persons. No matter how morally good or bad so to speak one may be, there is in every person a sense that God is a reality. They recognize that they are not right with Him. There is in truth no true atheist. There is a spiritual light in every person (see John 1:1-5). That light might just be a small flicker, but it is present. Some readily turn toward that inner light, but others resist. It is those who resist the light’s testimony that God must bring low if they are to be reached. Jesus’ parable of the prodigal is a great picture of this truth. Consider;
11Then He (Jesus) said: “A certain man had two sons. 12And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. 13And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. 14But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. 15Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything. 17“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants”’ (Luke 15:11-19 NKJV).
This man had to hit bottom temporally before he would be humbled and reach out to the only person who could provide his needs. Not only provide his needs but restore him to his former position with all the rights of that position.This is true of many persons, saved (Christian) or unsaved (non-Christian). It might be in the providence of God that a non-Christian must be brought low temporally before he will turn to God for help. It is also true of a Christian, who like the prodigal son of Jesus’ parable, must be brought low before he will repent and return to worshipping God as he ought.
Being on this side of salvation or restoration to God, we who are Christian and are walking in fellowship with our redeemer are experiencing the peace of God. This is beyond understanding by those who are not believers, and cannot not be fully appreciated by Christians who are out of fellowship. We ask, why continue struggling against God who loves us, as the father of the prodigal loved his son? Returning to that parable we read; “20And he [the prodigal son] arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. 21And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “22But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry” (Luke 15:20-24 NKJV).
This parable is about God’s love for His children and about those who have turned to Him for salvation but digressed in their walk with Him. It is also a picture of mankind. God loves man and desires fellowship with man. He loves mankind so much that He gave his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, as payment for sin and the path of restoration. We read from John 3:14-19 NKJV); “14And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15that whoever believes in Him should £not perish but have eternal life. 16For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. “18He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”
Considering God’s love then, why fight against Him? Why put yourself in position where you must be brought low?
Transforming Power; The Work of God on Behalf of Man