How could anyone wonder if God’s Word is practical? So much of the Bible is directed toward living life. We are not ascetic monks who hide from the world.  Though we may experience  seasons of separation to pare away the distractions life, there is no Bible basis for such a sustained solitary existence. God’s Son spent His life among people, doing life.

Ephesians 5:15-16 (NLT) So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. 16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. 

People who listen to God and move in obedience toward His Word discover and enjoy many opportunities in this life.

Sometimes God Doesn’t Say What We Want To Hear.

Jeremiah got Tired of Being Right.  Jeremiah is called the “Weeping Prophet” His prophecies were not happy in general. He told Israel, “Jerusalem will fall.” That was not a popular message. He spoke to a nation on the brink. They were proud and refused to return to God.

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His method of escape was to return to God, and submit to his enemies.

When Jerusalem and Israel fell to Babylon, a small group was left under Babylonian Rule and supervision. Even then there was chaos and their Babylonian Governor was murdered. This group was terrified of the wrath of Babylon and wanted to flee to Egypt. They came to Jeremiah looking for God’s counsel. 

Jeremiah 42:10 (NLT) Stay here in this land. If you do, I will build you up and not tear you down; I will plant you and not uproot you. For I am sorry about all the punishment I have had to bring upon you.

God’s Nature Is To Bless. God is Just, but He is also merciful and the source of Love and Grace. Most people get the idea from Bible sources that God is just ticked-off with us. That’s not true. I would argue that the pain in our world is not a product of God’s wrath, but rather, it is a consequence of people’s sins. I would argue that it is an assault caused by our spirit enemies.

Our Nature is the HARD Way. Have you ever prayed to God for an answer that you had already decided upon?  The people left in Babylon acted in the same way.

Jeremiah 42:20 (NLT) For you were not being honest when you sent me to pray to the Lord your God for you. You said, ‘Just tell us what the Lord our God says, and we will do it!’ 

They already knew what they were going to do. They asked Jeremiah for God’s counsel, but then rejected God’s counsel. 

God’s way seldom agrees with popular belief or current cultural assumptions.

Our Search For Opportunity

Be Careful. You have a responsibility for your own life. How others treat you does not alleviate your responsibility. No one “makes” you do things. You choose to do things. Where you are in life, is a product of your choices. You may not have received what others received, but you made choices nonetheless.

Ephesians 5:15-16 (NLT) So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. 16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. 

Make the best choices possible in the decisions you face. You may not be able to be anything you want to be, as your teacher/parent may have taught. BUT, you can be better. You can improve.  You can make decisions that will open doors for more opportunities. Whether your life is hard or easy isn’t the issue. It’s that you are either a light or shadow everywhere you live.

Be Wise. Live Wisely. How are we to do that? How are we to acquire Wisdom? This is important. Wisdom  is not the same as knowledge.  In fact, knowledge before wisdom or in the absence of wisdom, is harmful. The book of Proverbs is filled with simple wisdom. BUT, it’s based upon one premise that most people forget, “The Fear of the Lord”. If you remove God from proverbs you no longer have wisdom. Proverbs tackles many common challenges of daily life and business, but it assumes a relationship and an intention.

1 Corinthians 1:24 (NLT) But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.

Jesus is your Wisdom. If your life is not an all-out pursuit of Jesus Christ, it is unlikely that you will discover wisdom.

See Opportunity. Paul saw the opportunity in so many situations. The angry crowds were an opportunity to Preach Jesus. The prison cell was an opportunity to sing. His arrest and many trials were opportunities to proclaim the gospel to heads of state. His prison transport was an opportunity to minister to ship captains and prison guards. His many beatings with rods and whips were an opportunity to connect with Jesus by suffering just as Jesus suffered. His stoning by an angry mob was an opportunity to encounter God and rise again. His martyrdom was an opportunity to go home to the Lord and Savior he only met so briefly but so completely, so long ago.  Be willing to seize the opportunity in each challenging situation that you encounter. 

Everything is an opportunity.

People who listen to God and move in obedience toward His Word discover and enjoy many opportunities in this life.   Today is your opportunity. The big hair, scary thing in your life, right now, is an opportunity.  It’s an opportunity to come closer to Jesus, to pray, and to consider His Word.  It’s an opportunity to behave like Jesus and to act as He would act in your situation. Your biggest challenge is an opportunity to Shine a light and dispel the shadows.

“If only I had listened.”  Do you have any memories in which someone tried to help you, but you just wouldn’t listen? Don’t do that! Listen to God’s Word, God’s Spirit, and seize your opportunity.