One day after church, I was standing outside with two adults and a small child. As I was talking to one of the adults, the child asked me a question. I won’t repeat what he said, but let’s just say this child ‘called me out’. I was shocked, embarrassed and speechless.
I couldn’t believe he had just spoken to me that way, but what really made me mad was that the two adults standing by were his parents and they said nothing. They didn’t correct him nor did they apologize to me. So, what did I do? I accused the parents of talking about me in front of their child, but they both denied it.
I knew I was doing things that I shouldn’t have been doing, but I couldn’t figure out how this child knew what I was doing. I thought no one knew. I thought no one saw me, but the Lord opened the mouth of a child to open my eyes.
In Numbers 22, Balak, the king of Moab, saw what the Israelites did to the Amorites and he was afraid. He knew a man named Balaam and he knew that whoever Balaam blessed was blessed and whoever he cursed was cursed. He then sent his messengers (with money) to Balaam so that he might place a curse on the people that God called His people. Balaam told the men that he would talk to God and then tell them whatever God told him. God made it very clear to Balaam that the people Balak wanted to curse were blessed and he was not to go with Balak’s men.
The next day, Balaam told the men that God didn’t give him permission to go with them so Balak made a better offer and it sounded really good. Not only did he offer riches and honor, but he offered to do whatever Balaam asked. Balaam knew what God said the first time, but he went back to God concerning the same thing to see if He would change His mind.
God told Balaam to go with the men if they called him the following morning, but when Balaam went with Balak’s men, God became angry. I don’t believe God would tell him to go and then be angry because he went. Maybe it wasn’t about who Balaam went with, but about why he went with them. In 2 Peter 2:15, Balaam is described as a man who loved the wages of unrighteousness (wrongdoing; wickedness; doing harm).
While Balaam was traveling, the donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way. The angel drew his sword to kill Balaam three times, but each time the donkey protected him. Balaam beat his donkey each time because he couldn’t see what his donkey saw and he didn’t understand what she was doing. But after the third beating, the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey and then He opened Balaam’s eyes.
The reason why God used a child that day was because when He spoke to me, I wouldn’t listen to Him. He used adults, but I wouldn’t listen to them so He used someone that I least expected. He used someone who I didn’t think He would use. Because I refused to put away childish things, He used a child to speak to a child (me). It may have been a little boy’s mouth, but it was God’s words.
God saw what I couldn’t see. He saw me going in the wrong direction and He knew the way I was going would have either killed me or destroyed me. Yes, Balaam’s foot was crushed against a wall along the way, but he lived to repent for the things he had done. He was given another chance and so was I.
I wanted to discipline that child the same way Balaam disciplined his donkey, but it wasn’t the child that needed rebuke.
It was me.
possess: to win; to own; to contend; not giving way to adverse circumstances
More and more people are choosing to live a healthier lifestyle. They are going to the gym every day. They are drinking more water. Some have even decided to become vegans. I, on the other hand, am like Paul, who believed every creature of God is good and is to be received with thanksgiving (1 Timothy 3-4). While I’m so glad that we’ve decided to take better care of our bodies, I can’t help but wonder what it would be like if we cared for our souls the way we care for our bodies?
For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul (Matthew 16:26)?
There are some things that are hard to get back. We see this when Esau sells his birthright to his brother. We also see this in the parable of the lost coin (Luke 15:8-10). This wasn’t her only coin. She had nine other coins, but it wasn’t until she lost one that she understood the value of what she had. She knew something was missing in her life and she wanted it back.
I’m not sure how this woman lost her coin, but what I do know is that this woman lit a candle, swept the house and searched diligently through the dust and dirt until she found it. To find it, she had to separate herself. No distractions. In fact, her friends and neighbors aren’t mentioned until after she found the coin.
There are some people and situations that you will have to walk away from. And no, that’s not being mean. That’s being wise. It means you are learning to guard your heart with all diligence. It means that you now understand how precious you are and you are pulling away from anything or anyone that will pull you back into what God pulled you out of.
One of the tricks of the enemy is to get you to join yourself to the wrong people while separating you from the right people. Sometimes our relationships look like the picture below.
The ox knows how to plow and the donkey knows how to plow, but it’s just not wise for them to plow together. It would be better for the ox to plow with an animal that has its nature or character. It should be joined with an animal that would work with it and not against it. I know we didn’t choose the families we were born into, but we can choose our friends. Choose people who will help you, not hold you back.
Another way the enemy tries to get to your soul is through sexual immorality. There is no need to boast about what foods you don’t put in your body if you commit sins that affect both your body and soul. We’ve heard it and we have read it, but I don’t think we really understand that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit – that He is in us to help us. He helps us to win and to overcome temptations.
King Lemuel begins Proverbs 31 by sharing with us the words of his mother. I believe the best advice his mother gave him is found in Proverbs 31:3 – Give not your strength to women (Proverbs 31:3). Throughout the book of Proverbs, we read about the strange woman (2:16), the evil woman (6:24), the whorish woman (6:26), the foolish woman (9:13) and the adulterous woman (30:20). His mother wanted him to join himself to a wise woman who builds her house (which includes him), not a woman who is known to tear apart her house or break up other people’s houses.
Have you ever watched the movie, Fireproof? Do you remember the salt and pepper demonstration? Michael glued two salt and pepper shakers together to show Caleb what happens when two souls become one. At the end of the demonstration, Caleb started to pull the two shakers apart, but he was warned not to because he would either break one of them or even worse – the both of them.
The reason why satan tries to break up marriages or tempt people to lay with someone who is not their wife or husband (fornication as well adultery) is to destroy souls. He wants to ruin you emotionally and spiritually. He wants you to feel so used and damaged that you think it is impossible for God to ever use you. He wants to put an end to what God wants to do before it is even started.
Some of you are carrying unforgiveness, hurt, shame, fear, bitterness and anger because of who you joined yourselves to. They all weren’t bad people, but they were the wrong people simply because they weren’t right for you. But these things that you are carrying contaminate your souls. They wear you down and make you sick in your body. They hinder your prayers and they keep you from moving forward.
But most of all, these things weaken your faith in God. It will cause you to back away rather than to draw near to God. The enemy recognizes the power of one (unity). He knows the power of love and he doesn’t want you to love like you used to. He knows the power of your prayers (John 14:13-14). And he knows what your faith can do – overcome him! For whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith (1 John 5:4).
In Luke 21, Jesus warned the disciples of the signs that will precede his return. The first thing he mentioned was deception (vs 8). Many shall come in my name, saying, I am the Christ…but don’t follow them. The purpose of deception is to get you to exchange what is of value for something of little or no value. (Esau exchanged his birthright for one morsel of meat; Hebrews 12:6). After he lists all the events that will take place, he says, In your patience possess your souls (vs 19).
The soul consists of the mind, will and emotions. The enemy attacks your soul because that is the area where you think, feel emotions and make decisions. When a person is deceived, he is made to believe something that is not true. He is misled by a false appearance. Deception has caused many ‘believers’ to leave the very place where God sent them or planted them to grow. It has even caused them to leave families (spouses and children) for what they thought was better.
Your soul is precious and valuable. You are precious and valuable to God. Don’t exchange what you have for something that you don’t need. It is important that you take good care of your body, but also guard your soul. Choose your thoughts and be careful with your words. Don’t be impatient like Esau who acted like he would have fainted had he not eaten right away. Wait on God. And don’t be deceived like Eve. One of the reasons why she ate of the tree was because it was pleasant to the eyes (Genesis 3:6). Let us make sure that whatever we do is pleasing to God, and not just to our eyes.
Possess your souls.