Junior High School was the worst period of my life. My family moved from Tokyo, Japan, to Seoul, Korea in the middle of my 7thgrade. I didn’t find a niche in the new school, so I compensated by handling adversity and uncomfortable situations by being funny. Mr. Eng, the principal of the Crusaders, abetted my cause. Once I pulled a rubber band back as if to shoot him and his immediate response was, “That’s stretching things too far!” My life was being stretched, and my ideas for coping weren’t working.
1 Samuel 7:3--Samuel told them, “If you are returning to the Lord with all your heart, get rid of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths that are among you, dedicate yourselves tothe Lord, and worship only Him. Then He will rescue you from the hand of the Philistines.”
I don’t suppose there is a day when my brain does not spin out a new idea. Ideas are the springtime of civilization. Without them we can become as old and tiresome as a dead walnut tree. But ideas no matter how fast we think or apprehend them are only as good as what control them. Water always takes the path of least resistance. If ideas are allowed to do the same we become winding crooked people. I’ve discovered that whenever I pursue my ideas and do not submit them to the authority and leadership of the Holy Spirit they are counterproductive. Just as a year and a half of ideas could not make my junior high years fruitful so a lifetime of creating cannot bring lasting fulfillment without the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
The start of a new year is a natural time to reflect upon goals and ideas. Samuel, the Old Testament prophet gave his people, the Israelites, spiritual advice that is idea-worthy!
#1. Return to the Lord wholeheartedly. If God is not first in our lives, what does that say about what our brains spin out?
#2. Thoughts that distract us from following God are vain! The Ashtoreth was a goddess of love, fertility and war worshiped by many people in the ancient Near East. When the Jews bowed before idols God withheld His blessing and the nation got its tail whipped by the Philistines. Our ideas matter—but to whom?
#3. Serve God only! He is a jealous God (Exodus 20:5). That may sound bad, but think about it! He wants our undivided love because He undividedly loves us!
Creativity uninspired by the Holy Spirit if pursued enslaves us to our own conceptions. God-serving ideas inspired by the Holy Spirit if pursued liberate us to divine living! Are you full of creative thoughts! Great! Then ask, “what shall I do Lord?” When He answers you’ll have your direction and the joy that comes from inspiration.
It was the Lord who put into my mind (I could feel His hand upon me) the fact that it would be possible to sail from here to the Indies. All who heard of my project rejected it with laughter, ridiculing me. There is no question that the inspiration was from the Holy Spirit, because He comforted me with rays of marvelous inspiration from the Holy Scriptures.—Christopher Columbus
Obedience to the Holy Spirit will mean that we have the power to direct our ideas.—Oswald Chambers in Biblical Ethics
Application—Half Day Retreat
When was the last time you scheduled half a day to be alone with God? Have you ever done this? Just as batteries need to be recharged so our spiritual relationship needs to be boosted occasionally by setting aside time just to be with the Lord.
Set a date on the calendar. When the day arrives, go to a place of solitude—perhaps a monastery, a secluded beach, a place in the woods, a quiet refuge where you can think, read, pray and write uninterrupted by phone, people or traffic. Spend the time with God in prayer perhaps using an acrostic like ACTS (Adoration/Confession/Thanksgiving /Supplication) to divide up the time. Bring along to read an inspiring devotional like My Utmost For His Highestby Oswald Chambers. Take time to just listen to God and then as He prompts you, begin to write down the ideas that flow. If no ideas come, don’t be discouraged. Perhaps at this time your greatest need is just to rest and be quiet. The important thing is to establish a regular time of meeting God for an extended period!
©2000 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)