I would venture to say that wherever you live, you have traveled down a road or two that has potholes. Some roads are simply riddled with what seems like a million of little ones, and some road have “gigantor” size potholes….I mean like you feel like you left half of your engine in the road when you hit it! If the roads you travel are ones that you encounter every day, you learn to navigate away from the big ones, and well, you just deal with the little ones.
Have you ever spent time with someone who is constantly complaining? They are looking for advice, but never follow it? Someone who “stirs the pot” and brings up things that don’t really have any relation to anything you are discussing, but brings it up anyway? Someone who is basically attracted to the potholes of negativity? Or perhaps the more difficult question…have you ever been that “someone?” Ouch! I know I have..and it’s a struggle to stay positive sometimes. But it’s so worth the effort.
I’m gonna cut to the chase real quick here ~ the Lord has no patience for negativity. You can read just about any part of the Old Testament and find out the severe penalties that people (or tribes) had to suffer due to their negative attitude of unbelief. When the Lord told them to do something, or to go to a certain place, they needed to be obedient…not participate in the fear or doubting hearts of a few.
Take a peek into chapter 14 of Numbers (verses 36-38), “So the men Moses sent to scout out the land, and who returned and incited the entire community to complain about him by spreading a negative report about the land— those men who spread the negative report about the land were struck down by the Lord. Only Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh remained alive of those men who went to scout out the land.” (emphasis mine)
In the previous verses in Numbers 14, you can read the larger account of why those men lost their lives and why Joshua and Caleb’s lives were saved. To boil it down, the men who died chose to not obey the Lord’s commands and denied God the opportunity to show the Israelite’s of that time, how truly powerful He was. God had told them that He was giving them the lands of Canaan. He promised them that HE would fight for them and that in all the battles Israel would fight, they would win every single one…that the 12 tribes would inherit the lands as promised.
Fear of the unknown. Fear of uncharted lands. Fear of strange people groups. Fear of failure. All of that fear turned to negativity.
Those men that riled up the people (and practically got Moses, Aaron, Joshua and Caleb stoned to death) to such a degree, there was no other way for the Lord to take care of the situation, except by putting those men to death. Their own negativity was so deep, not only did those select men lose their lives, future generations were affected. Forty years worth of future generations. FORTY!! Long enough for the negativity and fear to leave the people so that the tribes who eventually entered the Promised Lands of Canaan, entered with trusting hearts. Hearts that were focused on what the Lord says and able to hear God’s call on their life and move forward to live out the promises He’s given.
Thankfully, because of what Christ did on the cross for us and for the immense love He has for us, we are not under that same Old Testament law. It does not mean that we are free to do and say what we like simply because we want to say it. We are covered with God’s grace and mercy, and must conduct ourselves in such a way. But there are those days when we stumble…when we hit one of those “potholes of negativity.”
Possibly, you’ve been on your road of those little potholes for so long that you don’t realize that you are bouncing along, and uncomfortably so. It’s so easy to complain. Complaining and stirring that proverbial pot actually takes very little effort. It’s that moment when you should heed the warning my mother used to tell me,
“Just because that thought came into your mind, it doesn’t mean that it should come out of your mouth!”
Yep…you know what I mean…the off-handed remark to another mom in car-line about your kids’ teacher…the snarky comment to your co-worker about your boss…the veiled “prayer request” to a friend about another friend at church…your own dismay as you look in the mirror as you get ready to go to that party. I’m sure you can think of many more examples of the kind of negative thinking which breed unhealthy actions.
HOWEVER….Today is the beautiful day my friend that you can get off that road!
Today, you can decide that you want to lift your eyes and focus on what the heart of God wants for you. How the Lord desires to share in sweet fellowship with you. Will you let Him fill in those potholes with the truth of His Word? With the truth of who you are in Him? Here’s a few verses to get you started on a smoother, more joyful path.
Romans 5:6-11, “For while we were still helpless, at the appointed moment,Christ died for the ungodly. For rarely will someone die for a just person—though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die. But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us! Much more then, since we have now been declared righteous by His blood, we will be saved through Him from wrath. For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His life! And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have now received this reconciliation through Him.” (emphasis mine)
Romans 15:4-6, “For whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction, so that we may have hope through endurance and through the encouragement from the Scriptures. Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement allow you to live in harmony with one another, according to the command of Christ Jesus, so that you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ with a united mind and voice.”
I Peter 1:3-4, “Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to His great mercy, He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that is imperishable, uncorrupted, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.”
Ephesians 2:8-10, “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.”
These verses are just a small taste of how good the Lord is and how much He loves us! I encourage you today to check out more, as you dig deep into God’s word to find the treasures of His everlasting promises of our true identity in Him!
Oops! I almost forgot to mention again about those huge potholes that catch us off guard. You know, those moments you have when life seems to be going pretty well and then out of nowhere ~ we forget to drive around the pothole that we see coming, and go head first! Sometimes we are just rattled a bit and sometimes we pop a tire and careen out of control.
Having a relationship with Lord on a daily basis will help us to see those potholes BEFORE they arrive. Oh, and they WILL arrive my friend! But it’s how we deal with them. God’s precious Word can assist us in navigating away from (or at least around) the people or situations that would at times cause us to lose control. We do not have to be controlled by the potholes ~ we have a Lord and Savior we can ask each day (okay…some days I know its moment by moment!) to fill in those treacherous potholes with the truth of His Word…and He will do it! One of the tremendous benefits of allowing God to fill in those potholes, is that we can share with others who are struggling with the same issues, and in doing so, we help them along in their journey with the Lord as He fills in theirs! It’s a win-win situation for sure!!
So go now….and start paving a new path…one that is filled with God’s grace and mercy; and with the knowledge that you have been created for great things in the Kingdom of God!