“You’ve got go down to come up,” The student said.
He was giving Joyce and I directions on how to get into the building with the children’s buggy. There was no wheelchair or ramp access into he building from the ground floor. Instead, the student led us down a ramp into the basement where we could catch a lift back up to the ground floor. The student did not know it, but he had just defined a very important spiritual law of Christian progress.
The last blog discussed this principle (you can read it here). Using Moses’ life as an example we saw that there is always a temptation to ignore this principle and use our energy to make our calling happen or work.
We may try to energize a group of people around about us so that they see us as something special. Or try to surf the wave of a successful colleague to make ourselves known to the management at work. We may emotionally overpower our family and force them to acknowledge our place as wife, father, or sibling, and give us the place our calling deserves. We may go to every church service, be loquacious and tell of all our spiritual experiences, so that the church leadership know of the calling God has given us. There are many ways we can force our calling.
In many ways it is easy to get like that. We see nothing else but our purpose and drive towards fulfilling it. However, I do not think many people have forced their calling so hard that they have killed someone in the process. That is what Moses did.
Moses committed murder
“He saw an Egyptian mistreating an Israelite. So Moses came to the man’s defense and avenged him, killing the Egyptian. Moses assumed his fellow Israelites would realize that God had sent him to rescue them, but they didn’t.” (Acts 7.24-25, NLT)
You would think Moses would stop forcing his calling after that. Killing someone while trying to fulfill God’s plan for your life would sure put a dampener on things. But it does not deter him.
“The next day he visited them again and saw two men of Israel fighting. He tried to be a peacemaker.
‘Men,’ he said, ‘you are brothers. Why are you fighting each other?’
“But the man in the wrong pushed Moses aside. ‘Who made you a ruler and judge over us?’ he asked.‘ Are you going to kill me as you killed that Egyptian yesterday?’
When Moses heard that, he fled the country and lived as a foreigner in the land of Midian.
(Acts 7.26-29, NLT)
There are a few things we can learn from this.
Somebody always sees our sin
Moses knew he did wrong murdering the Egyptian, but because he assumed no one knew about it he thought it was okay. So he hid his sin and went on to try to walk in his calling. That the murder was known about by the Israelites tells me that eventually hidden sin will be revealed.
Somebody always sees your sin. If it is not revealed in this lifetime, it will be revealed in the next. Paul says, “Remember, the sins of some people are obvious, leading them to certain judgment. But there are others whose sins will not be revealed until later.” (1Tm 5.24, NLT)
Somebody always experiences our sin
You may experience the effects of your sin.
The bible is full of examples where the sin of an unrepentant person negatively affects them. For instance, Jesus’ instruction after he healed someone was often, “Go and sin no more.” This implies that sin was the cause of their failing health, spiritual turmoil, or disease.
Sin may affect others.
Remember Cain & Abel?
“Hey, Cain. Where’s your brother?” said God.
“How should I know? Am I his keeper?”
Of course he knew where his brother was. He lay dead in a field rotting. But the sin Cain hid in his heart about God accepting Abel’s offering and not his, eventually boiled over and Abel experienced the fury of it.
Maybe God’s asking you, “Hey, where’s your wife?”
“How should I know? Am I her keeper?”
“Well, you should know. She’s running around tidying up after you. She’s scrubbing the gussets of your longjohns, and trying to pick her head up, after the unrepentant sin you’ve held in your heart exploded all over her.”
We could use other examples, but I think you get the idea.
Unrepentant sin lies smoldering on the inside until it finds an outlet. It is like the pressure under a tectonic plate. It can lie dormant for a very long time, but eventually it will build up to breaking point and push through the area of least resistance. The area of least resistance may be a physical or mental symptom, or it may manifest itself through our actions. When unrepentant sin does manifest itself through our actions it is usually those we love the most that experience its wrath.
Unbridled passion is not a good thing.
Since murder usually occurs in the heat of passion, perhaps Moses’ assumed that the Israelites would see how passionate he was towards their cause. They would realize his calling and then give him his place.
This happens a lot. We assume that because someone’s passionate then they must have a heart for the cause and be in the right. However, we have no idea of the destruction that the passion has caused to get them to where they feel God is calling them.
We may have regret but not remorse
It was not until Moses realized that others knew about his sin that he stopped his forcefulness and fled. He perhaps suspected that they would tell others about it. The fact he fled may hint at the possibility that Moses regretted his actions and did not repent of them.
Regret is when a person realizes their wrong-doing and drowns themselves in negativity. They continuously think about their mistakes, and this leads to feelings of anger, hatred, and depression. However, repentance is positive. A repentant person seeks forgiveness for their mistakes and takes a stand that they shall not repeat these mistakes again. They try to think through ways that they could have handled the situation better and think of how to avoid it happening again.
Moses fled when he found out that others knew of his murderous sin. This shows me that he was not remorseful for the wrong he did. Rather, he regretted the inconvenience it caused to his calling.
Moses was using worldly principles to fulfill his call
He was using force and exerting his strength over others to get to where he believed God was calling him. But how else are we to expect him to act? Up to this point in his life he “was taught all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was powerful in both speech and action.” Moses was taught that the way up is up. His mind could not see anything outside of that scope of thinking. He did not consider that the way up might in fact be down.
What we can learn from this
It is important that we reassess our calling, our motives, and our actions. Are we trying to reach our full potential by hiding our sin, letting our passion run unbridled, or mistaking regret for repentance. Are we using worldly principles to get us to where we believe we should be? Or are we following the spiritual law of Christian progress and going down that we may come up? As the student said, “You’ve got to go down, to come up.”
In the next post I will begin to show what the solution to these problems are. In the meantime we must read the bible regularly, and pray, pray, pray. This is my advice to everyone on pretty much every topic. God is able.