Quiet Reflections from a mothers heart to her daughters....
Today I want to talk to you about what it means to be "misled". I came across this verse and it stirred my heart to think about my own life and the times I have been "mis-led".
Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. Gal 6:7-8 (NLT)
I had to dig deep and look back at what it was like as a teenager and how I was mislead then. You know my memory is not good but I wanted to put myself where you are as much as possible even though we are talking about two very different time periods, right?
As a teenager your thoughts and actions are driven by your heart more than your mind. You are influenced by your friends-their habits, their approval, their beliefs. You are influenced by the media and what the world labels as popular and accepting.
When a teenager is faced with a decision, that teenager tends to look more to what others would do in the same situation or what others will think of them verses what the outcome of that decision might be. I know. I lived that. I also know some decisions are very black and white. You steal, you go to jail. You use drugs, you get kicked out of sports. Yet you know of kids who were mislead in even those actions don't you?
How do you protect your self from being misled? I really think there is one factor that opens one up to being misled. It is a word we prefer not to address with our self but too often it does describe us. It is an ugly word. A nasty word. A dangerous word. A painful word...
A selfish person is all about them and them only. Sometimes they cannot even see this in themself. A selfish person is first concerned with their needs above the needs of others. And this leaves that person wide open to being misled. Let me show you how from Scripture:
"Do not be misled. Bad company corrupts good character." (I Corinthians 15:33)
A selfish teenager is more concern how her friends make her look than how they influence her. A selfish teen is blind to see the difference between a friend that has a positive influence on her than a negative one that can harm her. This teen is misled.
Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. ~ James 1:14-17
A selfish teen is all about what she wants. In getting what she wants that she thinks will make her happy she gets lost in her desires and pleasures and before she knows it, it controls her thoughts and her actions. The selfish teen will break rules and hurt others to get what she wants. This teen is misled.
I know this. I lived it. I didn't see it then as well as I see it now. Selfishness doesn't stop with the teenage years but continues to grow old with the person if the person doesn't get control over it. I am thankfully able to see it now that I am more mature (or older as you would say) but it remains a struggle. Too often I see my own selfishness after the action of being selfish. I am still learning to stop it before it makes me react.
So how do we control this selfishness so we can avoid being misled? Again, can I take you to Scripture?
Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other. But—“When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.” This is a trustworthy saying, and I want you to insist on these teachings so that all who trust in God will devote themselves to doing good. These teachings are good and beneficial for everyone. ~ Titus 3:3-8 (NLT)
We avoid being misled by two key steps:
- We see it as it is, an ugly sin and we give it to God.
- We make God our priority in life.
I was not holding the hand of God in those times even though I may have been actively claiming to know Him. In those selfish times I was not putting God at front and center in my thoughts or actions or by making Him my best friend. It was all about me, my wants, my desires. All the pain, regret and even shame that came from being misled thankfully has been forgiven by Christ love as we read in the Act 3 passage above. Read it again...
But—“When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.” This is a trustworthy saying, and I want you to insist on these teachings so that all who trust in God will devote themselves to doing good. These teachings are good and beneficial for everyone.
Acknowledging the selfish part of our being and making it take a back seat to everything else protects us from being misled. Eliminating our selfish being from EVERYTHING ELSE...our friends, our desires, our activities, our thoughts, our love can only happen with God front and center in your life.
In the beginning God...~Genesis 1:1
In the beginning God. The first four words of the Bible. Words you can take and apply to every area of your life, every decision you need to make, every actions you need to take. Put these four words to action in your life. How?
When you wake up in the morning, begin your day with God by simple prayer, the reading of a devotional or piece of scripture. When God is your first priority, selfishness can't live or breath in your actions or relationships.
When you have a decision to make, ask yourself what God would want you to do? How would God react to it? Will it bring honor to Him? Can you take this action with God by your side? Anything that honors Him will bring good for you.
Such wicked people are detestable to the Lord, but he offers his friendship to the godly. ~ Proverbs 2:32 (NLT)
Make God your best friend. Imagine hanging with Him, working with Him, partying with Him. If your concerned about whether your friends are good for you or not, ask yourself if they would allow God to hang with you also? Would you and your friends "talk like that" or "act like" that if God was there? If there is a new job or event to go to, can God go to? If there is someone for you to love, will they also love Him?
The Lord is a friend to those who fear him. He teaches them his covenant. ~ Psalm 25:14 (NLT)
Keep in mind you could also be misled in the good things. Doesn't make sense does it? How does that work? You could sign up to do something good but if that isn't where God wants you then it isn't good for you. You need to look at the motive of being involved with the good thing. here are some examples...
When you hang with that popular person do they help you as a person or do they compromise your relationship with your best friend God?
Should you fall in love with that really great guy even though he doesn't believe in God?
Are you taking the job for the money even though it will put you in situations that you couldn't take God to?
Are you involved in a church ministry because of how it makes you look or because of what God can do through you?
I would love to save you from being mis-led in life. If I could protect you from everything wrong or painful I would. The only protection in life we have from being misled can only come from God. Your mother has learned some life lessons the hard way and they have grown me as a person but I would never wish the negative effects that have resulted from being misled on you-EVER!
My daughters, you can have many friends, but I implore you to have a best friend, that one person that will never do you wrong, that will never reject you and will always listen and guide you in the good times and the bad times. God wants to be your Best Friend. Embrace the best friendship that only He can give you. Develop it now, while here on earth and imagine the reunion you will experience when you meet Him face-to-face one day.
Your mother regrets all the years she lived selfishly and did not have her Best Friend front and center in her life. I can only imagine how much better it would have been. You don't have to regret wasted time from being misled. You don't have to wait or imagine what that relationship may have produced in and through you.
Find your Best Friend!!
I love you,