Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
As we navigate through this life, it’s easy for the cares of this world to become our constant and consistent focus. Afterall, it is our lives. It’s our families, our careers, our church positions, our ambitions, our pain, our struggles, and our losses. We strive for happiness and peace while facing disappointment and frustration. We learn that not everything that is done can be undone. Some fractures become permanent; some divisions never heal. Yet in the midst of these experiences, we are still called to be children of God – to submit to His will and be obedient to His commandments. By doing so, our names are written in the book of Life as we enter into the ark of His safety. Nevertheless, we learn through Noah and the flood that it’s possible to misjudge where safety is. How can we make sure we’re not standing outside of the ark?
Come into the Ark
If we take a look at the story of Noah and the flood found in Genesis chapters 6-9, we learn of God’s judgement on a world consumed by wickedness. God was to destroy the inhabitants of the Earth with a flood, except for a man named Noah, and his family. Unlike so many at that time, Noah walked with God and thereby would experience God’s grace amid total destruction. To be saved, Noah was instructed to build an ark that would house himself, his family, and the animals of the land and air during the flood. Consider, however, that only one who walked with God would be willing enough to believe in an event that he had never previously seen.
In Genesis 7:1, after the ark was completed, we read: Then the Lord said to Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation”. God was specific as to who would enter the ark, which also signaled who would not. Once in the ark, “the Lord shut him in” (Genesis 7:16). At this point, even if Noah wanted to open the entrance, he would not be able to do so. Noah and his family were the beneficiaries of God’s mercy, but Noah could not be the one to exact judgment – that belongs to God.
Why Am I Standing Outside?
Once the door to the ark was shut, 7 more days would pass before the rain fell. I believe many of those standing outside of the ark thought that they were actually in a place of safety, and it was Noah who made a foolish decision. Many of us today subscribe to this same logic – we must see in order to believe. Nevertheless, to the dismay of those outside, the rain came. For them, there was no safety to be found outside of the ark. Choices were made and the results were felt. Now given how long it took for Noah to build the ark, we might ponder – why didn’t anyone convert? Be careful not to be too judgmental. Afterall, can you say with confidence where you would have been at this time? Have you ever considered that your actions put you outside of God’s ark?
If you haven’t, then you should. It’s important that we have enough humility to understand that being outside of the ark of safety is a real possibility for each of us. Once we accept this, we can start to look at life through a different lens. Pride is cast aside as the Holy Spirit moves within us, revealing the parts of us that are not in line with His will. We begin to feel conviction, but we still have choices to make. Life will give us distractions and deceptions meant to push us off course, and not all of these are terrible. Some might actually feel quite good, such as a new job. Yet if we deprioritize our relationship with God because our focus is on this world, then we will start to harden our hearts towards Him. We’ll drift away from God’s presence, trading light for darkness.
Carriers of Chaos
Darkness is clever in that it will search for ways to break down our faith, often little by little. We’ll find ourselves questioning unanswered prayers and why situations aren’t going in our favor. Resentment will build in our hearts as we doubt God’s willingness to save us in the midst of our distress. Darkness will also exploit the insecurities we have, resulting in us making gods out of money, relationships, family, and success. We’re attempting to fill the voids that consume us and to heal the pain that dismantles us. What we fail to realize is that we’ll always be chasing fulfillment when we do not anchor our peace in God.
Furthermore, we have to consider who we keep close in our lives because darkness can come through others. They don’t always realize it, but that doesn’t stop them, or us, from being conduits of darkness. Each of us, when we hold onto sinful habits, stands to infect those around us. Should we influence others to pull away from God, we too will be held liable for those decisions. How sad would it be to find out that we are outside of the ark of safety because we allowed someone to pull us out? Or that we did that to someone else? On the other hand, we can be a positive light to spread God’s message wherever we go. The Bible says it was Noah who walked with God, yet his family was also saved. Remember, our relationship with God is individual, but our impact is collective.
In Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus said:
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
Many of those who are standing outside the ark know the name of God and generally consider themselves to be “good people”. Yet Christ makes a distinction between true believers and performative believers. True believers are working to strengthen their relationship with God by trusting in Him and being obedient to His instruction. Others, however, hold lawlessness close to their hearts. 1 John 3:4 tells us: Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.
Often we choose sin, because it’s more aligned to this world. It’s easier to fit in and find a sense of community. Moreover, what’s in front of us feels more tangible than what’s inside of us. There’s still time, however, to turn back to God and to strengthen our relationship with Him. Each day is a new opportunity to submit ourselves to His will. If we give God the opportunity to show up in our lives, then we have to trust the process by which He intends to take us. His goal is for all of us to enter His ark of safety and be saved, but it’s up to us to answer God’s call.
#GodBless from #LovesAnActionPrint This Devotional