But Joseph refused. "Look," he told her, "my master trusts me with everything in his entire household. No one here has more authority than I do. He has held back nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How could I do such a wicked thing? It would be a great sin against God." - Genesis 39: 8-9 (NLT)
You can hear Joseph thinking this out. How could I do such a wicked thing! Too bad David did not reflect thoughtfully before he sent for Bathsheba. If we could just thoughtfully reflect to God on everything we face in this life we would find ourselves walking in the Spirit's power more and more. In fact, next in the key verses we see God drawing a clear line between living as the world does - drunk with wine, and living by the Spirit of God. God spells out in no uncertain terms that we will ruin our lives if we live by the world's standards. If someone was to get drunk on wine once does that mean their life will be ruined? Probably not. The point is when we immerse ourselves in worldliness we are on a path to destruction. We see it all the time in the church. People who are straddling the fence between the world and the Body of Christ. I remember when I was first saved I rode that fence for six months before the Holy Spirit conviction was too great and I had to make a decision about who I was living for. Does this mean that we are perfect and never defer to the world? Of course not because we are inextricably human. We reside in the world, are trapped in the flesh and are at war with an enemy. The more we manage to live according to the Spirit of God and not by the ways of this world, the stronger our Spirit grows within us. The stronger our walk becomes and the stronger our faith is.
Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. - Romans 12: 2 (NLT)
So often we cannot seem to find the will of God in our lives because we are messing around too much in this world. In the key verses God goes up another level by revealing the problem with people in this condition. If we want to be filled with the Spirit and devoid of the things of this world it is reliant upon our sincerity. Notice that in the key verses God is saying it is not enough to praise God with our lips but that the songs of thanksgiving must be sung in our hearts as well. I think that we have too many Sunday morning Christians. You cannot get close to God for only a couple hours on Sunday and think you are going to walk under the power of the Holy Spirit the rest of the week. More often than not our moments of attack and weakness will come during the week when we have to deal with our lives in this world. Our lips and our hearts must be closely aligned with God:
You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, "These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.'" - Matthew 15: 7-9 (NLT)
Their worship is a farce! The more we see the secularization of the church the more we see man-made ideas being pawned off as Godly. People are often seeking an emotional experience not a Spiritual one. Church can too easily become a show where we like to be seen. But there is no audience when we need the power of the Spirit to rise up within us when we catch a glimpse of the Bathsheba's of the world. When we need to be thoughtful about God and what He has said we are and are not to do. When we need to live by the Spirit's power.
The key verses conclude with the secret to all of these points. The linchpin that holds them all together is thanskgiving. Not thanksgiving as the country considers it, once per year sitting around a bounty of food. Thanksgiving for a Christian is not a holiday - it is guideline for everything in life. The key verses say we are to give thanks for everything to God. Not just when we say grace. Not just when the answer to our prayers is "yes." In everything! In the doctor's office. In the unemployment line. In the deep deep valley. A thankful person combats all of the trappings we have discussed in this devotional. A truly thankful heart is infinitely more concerned with what is done before God than what is said before God. A truly thankful heart seeks the Lord in their lives more than the world because they never forget how God has saved them from this world. A truly thankful heart is thoughtful towards the things of God, living a life that is accurate to the Word of God and cautious about their walk. Perfection? Never but a definite striving towards it as opposed to an erosion away from it. The secret is in not taking for granted everything God has already done for us.
So as we sit down this thanksgiving let us reflect for the goodness of God in our lives. Of course I am thankful for my family and friends. For my boss and my job. For everything God has provided for me. But beyond that beloved we need to be thankful for who God is in our lives. For saving our sin-sick souls and writing our names in the Lamb's Book of Life. For sitting us in heavenly realms and preparing works for us to do from the foundations of this earth. For indwelling His Holy Spirit inside of us and giving us the blueprint for how to walk under that awesome power that is at work within us all.