Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "The Great Physician Now Is Near"1 (Lyrics)
Ephesians 5:15-17 – Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. (NIV)
Sophie, my two-year-old retriever, is always finding things to pick up and chew on or eat during our daily walks. I, in turn, am always telling her to leave it, which she does for the moment. Once I am not looking, however, she does a U-turn and goes back to her found treasure. Having become accustomed to this behaviour of hers, I thus keep a close watch on her and once again tell her to leave it. Sometimes, this behaviour is repeated several times before she finally chooses to leave it behind.
I don't make Sophie leave it because I want to spoil her enjoyment but because this habit is one which could seriously harm or even kill her, depending upon what she has found.
Similarly, the Bible outlines various behaviours where God says to His people: "Leave it." He wants us to turn away from it and leave it behind because He knows that it is not good for us. It is behaviour which would pull us down, bring us to harm, or hurt those around us — behaviour which is immature and unwise.
"Leave it" is not always easy to do, however, as I'm sure, like me, you may have discovered for yourself. Habits are difficult to break. We also sometimes have the urge to try something just because everyone else is doing it or because we think it might be fun or enjoyable. In the long run, however, when God says "Leave it", trusting in His love for us and doing it always works out for the best for everyone.
Today, what thing or things in your life do you know you need to leave behind? What might God be saying "Leave it" to you about? I know what He is talking to me about, and in His strength, I am disciplining myself daily to leave it as commanded, for I want to live not as unwise but as wise, understanding and doing the Lord's will, making the most of every opportunity to be a good witness for Him.
How about you?
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for Your great and wondrous love that refuses to let us go when we want to go our own way. In Your mercy and goodness, Your Spirit continues to work within our innermost being, calling us to leave it and walk in obedience with You. Bless us this day with willing hearts to leave behind all that might hinder our Christian maturity and witness. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.