Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Ignoring God

I warned you when you were prosperous, but you replied, “Don’t bother me.” You have been that way since childhood—you simply will not obey me! Jeremiah 22:21 NLT

Our challenge seemed simple but proved more difficult than we imagined.

The final day of school where I was a Middle School grammar teacher was always a half day. Following our traditional breakfast feast where parents brought more food than the entire school could possibly eat, it was off to the gym where eligible students received various awards. What followed was two hours of dead time.

One particular year, the teachers decided to show a movie. Since we were a Christian school, we could not show anything but G-rated movies unless we had parental approval. Our lead teacher picked Star Wars, thinking none of the students would have seen the original and that it would interest them.

Although the lead teacher was correct on the first count—none of the kids had seen the original movie—she was miserably wrong on the second count. What we teachers hoped would be a relaxing time turned into a scene more challenging than the classroom. Interest waned after thirty minutes. This led to some students lying down for a nap, pestering their neighbors, and wanting repeated bathroom breaks.

Our hoped for restful period never materialized. The scene was more painful than the worse classroom episode one could imagine. When the movie was over, we breathed a sigh of relief. We’d think of a different plan the next year.

Jeremiah, known as the “weeping prophet,” was also given a daunting challenge: deliver a message to God’s people warning them of coming destruction by a foreign force—destruction they had brought on themselves by ignoring God.

Our students ignored the movie because they had no interest in it. Since it was space related and showed examples of techy stuff, we assumed they’d love it. The trouble was, our world has advanced so far since the movie was produced that they could tell the production was dated.

Without God’s intervention, I’ll respond to God the same way the students did to the movie. While I’m born with spiritual interest, I’ll ignore God because of my sinful nature unless I listen to the Spirit of God pulling me in the right direction.

As a believer, I’ve ignored God a number of times because I had my mind on other things. Had we shown the movie earlier in the year, the students may have watched. This was the last day of school, and they were moments away from the final bell and summer vacation. Unless I allow God to keep my mind on spiritual things—His business, I’ll ignore Him.

The psalmist was right when he said, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.” Psalm 37:4-5 NLT

A few students were interested in the movie initially but were eventually distracted by classmates who weren’t. I, too, have been led away from God by others. Going was my choice, but letting them influence me was my choice as well.

Don’t let things or people lead you to ignore God. Doing so always has devastating effects.

Copyright © 2017 Martin Wiles. Used by permission.

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