Indulge my sports analogy please. In hockey, when there’s a contested situation, the referee calls for a “face-off”. The winner of said face off puts his team momentarily in a position to control what happens next. It struck me that some of us in critical moments of faith adopt the face off position. We take an antagonistic approach to what’s in front of us. The bible often refers to Israel time and time again as being “stiff necked”. You know what I’m talking about; when you’ve made up your mind that you’re going to do something, knowing it’s wrong, but due to pride (disguised as principle), you’re going to do it anyway, ‘come hell or high water’. Have you ever heard someone justify bad behavior because they claimed to be ready for whatever consequences would come their way? Put it this way, “I know what the bible says but…..everybody is telling me this is wrong for me but….. you’re right but….” The next word out of that person’s mouth and maybe your own is simple justification for doing what you want to do instead of what you know God would have you do. Now nobody claim ignorance right here, please. I am just trying to illustrate that this is a formula for an inevitable confrontation that you are going to lose. Are you really ready to face off with God? I ask the question because like it or not, it is coming.
The struggle to give up control and submit to the will of God can be intense and extremely uncomfortable. Like anyone who has developed bad habits or has an addiction, it is more than a notion to stop and even more of an effort to create new behaviors and new good habits, if you will. Yes it is hard to teach an old dog new tricks, especially when that old dog is having such a good time paving his or her own personal road to hell. That’s where this face off issue comes into play. Once you start seeking the Lord, my personal experience says He’s pretty easy to find. Once found however, be prepared for the only way to face off with Him. Stiff necked or not, this is not an eyeball to eyeball event like hockey. Some of you remember the old stage play, Your Arms Too Short to Box with God! I just don’t want you to go to this face off thing thinking you’re going toe to toe with the Almighty. That posture might work with Satan, but in this case a slightly more humble position is definitely required. I’m thinking eyes closed, face down, praying you don’t get a whipping like you used to when Mom or Dad was really mad. I believe when you know you are about to have a close encounter of this spiritual kind, a calm comes over you. You begin to realize in actuality, this is a faith struggle between you and …you. The first you is lost. The you, you’re up against is found. The face off is about what you’re looking for. This is easy. Are you looking for the world or are you looking for the Word? Each has a uniquely strong pull on you. The problem is, you know what you should be looking for; and the solution is, do you have the will to do it? Matthew 5:33 “…But first seek His kingdom and His righteousness and all things will be given to you.” “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks the door will be opened.” Matthew 7: 7-8. It sounds simple, doesn’t it? But ask anyone who has found their way to God, including me, how it actually happened and most will tell you that they finally admitted in a faceoff with themselves that they needed divine help. In that moment of clarity, sobriety, desperation, whatever, God knew the plea was real; the faceoff an authentic effort to submit. Let me tell you one thing. Authentic prayer gets God’s attention every time. It lets Him know, you know you cannot do it on your own, but He can. I keep telling you, faith is a verb. By your faith, God acts on your behalf. “Then He touched their eyes and said, ‘According to your faith, it will be done to you.’” Matthew 9:29. May God Bless and Keep you Always.