One of the things I’ve noticed about my own life is that when there is a pain point in my life, I tend to be very active in getting rid of that pain, if at all possible. But once it’s not a pain, or not a pressing pain, I tend to lose focus. I tend to let things slide and concentrate on other things. For instance, one area is my productivity. I’ve got a lot of things going on. I need to improve upon my productivity. There are some bad habits I have which impair that productivity. And that means I’m less effective at all the things I want to get done. Now some folks that know me have commented at how much I do. And perhaps to someone else I compare up just fine. But the problem is God isn’t comparing me to Joe or Mike or Elizabeth or Cheryl. He’s comparing me to what I can be. That’s how He compares all of us. It’s not about how we look compared to others. It’s how we look compared to what we could be.
Now the angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim And he said, “I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land which I have sworn to your fathers; and I said, ‘I will never break My covenant with you, and as for you, you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars.’ But you have not obeyed Me; what is this you have done? “Therefore I also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; but they will become as thorns in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you.'” When the angel of the LORD spoke these words to all the sons of Israel, the people lifted up their voices and wept. So they named that place Bochim; and there they sacrificed to the LORD. – Judges 2:1-5, NASB
This rebuke from God came because the Israelites were not following His instructions. They were to drive the inhabitants of Canaan out. But somewhere along the way they stopped. In some cases they didn’t keep pushing on to win the land and even gave up when the going got a bit tough (Judges 1:34-39). In other cases the Israelites gained victory but kept around the inhabitants as “forced labor.” (Judges 1:27-33) Now “forced labor” is a euphemism for “slaves.” In other words, the Israelites kept them around so they didn’t have to work like they should have. Both of these situations show a focus on self instead of on God. The Israelites left the job undone. And God was not pleased. The rebuke we find in the beginning of Judges 2 is heart-rending. God was telling the Israelites that He wasn’t going to fight vigorously to clear the land for the Israelites. They had the opportunity to secure the land. They were lazy about it. They were incomplete about it. And as a result, not only were they not going to be able to count on God to fight their enemies, He was telling them that those enemies would be particularly stubborn and would cause their downfall. That’s the price of disobedience. That’s the cost of a leaving the job undone.
So what about me? What about when I go charging after something God has called me to do, whether it be ministry, personal improvement, or working on a relationship, and things become a little easier and I start to slow down? What about the jobs I’ve left undone? Do I want God to withdraw His support from me? Do I want the very things I’m working to improve to became major issues in my life? The obvious answer is, “No, of course not!” However, when ever I leave a job undone, this is exactly what I’m asking for. That’s not good. And I think many of us drift through life not realizing that this is exactly what we’re asking for unless we get serious about completing those things God has called us to do. By the way, that includes our Christian walk, too.
It’s easy to talk about losing our passion. It’s nothing to say we’ve lost focus. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve heard someone say he or she is too busy. Those are common things I hear among members of the Church. Those are things I’ve heard come out of my own mouth, especially that last one. Those are excuses. And they are said forgetting the consequences of leaving a job undone. I don’t want to suffer those consequences. I want God fighting my battles. I want Him providing His blessing. I want Him guiding my steps and helping me to press forward. Time to get those jobs done and move on to the next ones.