“Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” Matthew 23:12 NASB

Sometimes we want what we want when we want it. I know I do. On the surface everything may look good, even great! But when I pause and pray to ask God’s will, sometimes I hear His voice — that gentle nudge from the Holy Spirit — and it says “no.” There’s not a why or a reason. Just a simple “no.” Not even a “not now” which would be more palatable. So in that moment, what do I do? Do I rationalize and talk myself into the fact that I can’t possibly be hearing correctly? I can’t see any harm in this thing I want. How can I have heard “no?” How can that be right?

It might take me a few moments to sit with the dialogue a little longer and wait for my mind to quiet down again from all the internal dialogue (all my own dialogue by the way). I have to wait for my mind to quiet down from rationalization and justification. And then I hear the still, small voice again, “Do you trust Me?” It’s usually in that moment my heart melts a little. It’s such a gentle reminder that I don’t know everything. God does. I don’t know the big picture and how all the pieces fit together. God does. God is all knowing, all seeing, ever present, 100%perfect. If I truly accept all these things to be true, why do I trust myself more than God? Why do I spend so much time and energy looking for the “perfect” justification to do what I want to do? Because I’m fleshy. I’m no different than Adam and Eve. Same pitfalls of pride, greed, and jealousy. It is only in humility that I can lay all my fleshiness down at the cross and truly accept God’s voice. I have to crucify my flesh. I have to trust that God is so much bigger than my mind and heart can comprehend. I have to cling to that knowledge and believe. I have to choose.

Our fleshy issues are not new. God’s Word is full of strategies to combat the flesh. Two of my favorite characters in the Old Testament are Joshua and Caleb. I yearn to have a warrior heart and spirit like theirs. Joshua instituted a rigor of reflection, a time of accounting, for the children of Israel. It was a time reserved to recall the miraculous, God-sized ways that God had demonstrated Who He Is to them. This week I had a morning of accounting and appreciation for God-sized miracles in my own life. It was beautiful. It filled my heart with joy and love to remember each one. Then today I heard one of those hard to hear, truthful, Holy Spirit “no’s.” So here I am, faced with a choice. Do I really believe God’s perfect will for my life? Do I believe the Holy Sprit, the Comforter that Christ sent to make sure I am always cared for and tended to in the spirit? Do I choose to step forward in faith and grab hold of God’s “no” as fervently as I would His “yes?”

How about you?

Father, help us to always choose You.

Isaiah 55:8, Hebrews 11:6, 1 Corinthians 13:12, Hebrews 11:1, John 14:26