Friday, November 15, 2013

The Oaks

It is in our nature to settle, but we all have a choice as to where that settling will be.  Unless I live life on purpose, I default to habits, which, if left alone, pull me away from God.  And that is my plight.

 Lot, Abraham's nephew, got caught in this trap.  He followed the natural inclination of his heart--selfish through and through.  Then he chose to dwell near immorality.  Later, he moved right into the city itself and made his home there . . . settled.

At the same time Abraham made a choice--to deny himself.  Abraham treated Lot kindly and lived among the oak trees of Mamre . . . settled there.  (Gen. 13:18) 

Believers in Christ are referred to as, "oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD."  (Isa. 61:3)

He has planted . . . settled us, immovable, in His purity, His sacrifice, His grace.  I find it significant that several times in the life of Abraham, mention is made that he settled near the oaks.

Yet, I find that selfishness can still become a trap.  I take the bait by watching one show, or reading one magazine, (you name it), an innocent, fun activity, and before I know it, I have wasted the evening . . . settled.  Maybe not even on purpose, but by default I begin to dwell near that which does not honor God. 

The danger of settling in the wrong places is that it can become an addiction where our only way out is to be pulled, even forced away.  Lot's wife looked back with longing for her beloved city.  So my heart, by its own desire, is pulled away.  (James 1:14)  Did you catch that?  The evil desires are of my own longing.  That is why sin is such a temptation, because deep down, I love it.  Ouch!  And in that place I become useless to the Lord, a wasted life . . . a pillar of salt.  (Gen. 19:26)

But what thriving and encouragement there is next to the oaks!  In fellowship with other believers I am spurred on toward right living.

Furthermore, there is less chance of falling, and more strength to stand.  This is one reason why it is crucial that we do not neglect meeting together. 

I wonder?  Where are we settling?  Is it in the house of believers or at the house of Hollywood?  In Christ I am free, yet, I cannot underestimate the power of my own heart.  If I venture too close to the trap, I might get bit.  

"See to it brothers, that none of you has a sinful unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.  But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness."  Heb. 3:12-13

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