Don’t Swerve…Stay on Track (Acts 20:24)
Acts 20:24, “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.”
In the classic Looney Tunes cartoons, Wile E. Coyote makes frequent, yet futile, attempts to capture the Road Runner for his dinner. Using his customary Acme Products, he lays several traps for the speedy bird. The key to one of his plots is a “Detour” sign that he hopes will lead the Road Runner off the right path and into one of his traps. As usual, the plan falls through and the doomed coyote ends up in the trap himself. But the idea of using a detour to lead to a trap doesn’t always fail in real life. In fact, this is a tactic that the devil often uses successfully against us. Usually, his first attempt is not to get us to totally change direction and turn our backs away from following God. Instead, he tries to get us to change course just slightly. Perhaps he offers what appears to be an easier road or a shortcut while telling us that it will still lead to the same destination. Doctrinal error always results in moral failure. Never sell doctrine short. False doctrine promotes controversies and strife. But sound doctrine produces a dynamic love which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith (I Timothy 1:5). That is the pattern Satan followed when tempting Jesus in the wilderness. Yet each time Jesus responded with the Word of God, staying the course that His Father in Heaven had laid out for His life. Jesus was not interested in an easier way to accomplish God’s plan. He realized that God’s purposes could only be accomplished by God’s methods, and that helped Jesus stick to His course and overcome temptation. There simply aren’t any shortcuts or detours that lead to good ends in the Christian life. Stay out of the devil’s ditches and stick to God’s road and you will not go astray.
There are a number of reasons why we get sidetracked, off the right path, or spiritually derailed.
Here are four reasons.
1. We get sidetracked by being absorbed with self-will instead of God's will for our lives. Proverbs 14:14, “The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.”
2. We get sidetracked by a carnal lifestyle, or indifference toward the Lord. Matthew 24:12, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”
3. We get sidetracked by forgetting what the Lord has done for us. Revelation 2:4, “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.”
4. We get sidetracked when we replace our love for the Lord with something else. II Timothy 4:10, “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.”
A foolish old farmer concluded one day that the oats he had fed his mule for years were simply costing too much. So he hatched a plan. He mixed his sawdust in with the feed, and then a little more the next day, and even more the next. Each time he would reduce the amount of oats in the mix. The mule did not seem to notice the gradual change, so the farmer thought things were fine, and kept decreasing the amount of oats. Weeks later, on the day that he finally fed the mule nothing but sawdust, the mule finished the meal and fell over dead. Christians that feed on spiritual sawdust get weaker and weaker because they lack the nourishment and strength that comes from the Bread of Life, the Word of God. What you do with the Bible will determine what God does with you. If you stray from the Scriptures, don't be surprised if you stray from God and get out of church. They go hand in hand. We, as motorists, take detours because we have to. As Christians, we take them because we want to. If you have detoured and are of course, out of the will of God, you do not have to remain there. How does a Christian get back on track?
The Word of God is the key to getting your life straightened out:
1. Analyze and apply God's Word. Psalm 119:104-105, “Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”
Psalm 119:130, “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.”
Proverbs 6:23, “For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life.”
2. Give Attention to the Holy Spirit. Exodus 31:3, “And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,”
3. Ask God for understanding. Psalm 119:34, “Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.”
Psalm 119:125, “I am thy servant; give me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies.”
4. Be Attentive to the godly and wise counsel of others. Proverbs 15:32, “He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.”
5. Avoid and shun a sinful lifestyle. Job 28:28, “And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.”
6. Abide close to the Lord and get to know Him. Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.”
Questions to Consider:
Is your life full of confusion?
Are you sidetracked?
Points to Ponder:
If so, get back into the Bible and obey it.
The Word of God will give direction and order in your life.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.