Further and Further

If given the right encouragement we can really start to flourish in a particular area.

Ezekiel 7:1-27

Reference : They will put on sackcloth and be clothed with terror. Every face will be covered with shame, and every head will be shaved. (Ezekiel 7:18 NIV)

Explore: It’s amazing how easily we can change as people. If given the right encouragement, and the appropriate time to make the changes, we can really start to flourish in a particular area.

This is great when the area we’re flourishing in makes us a better person and contributes positively to the world. Like the development from someone learning an instrument to them becoming a dedicated musician. Similarly, seeing someone who enjoys hanging out with kids to them becoming an effective teacher.

These positive developments are beneficial for the person as well as society. However, not all changes are made in the right direction.

I’ve watched someone start hanging out with an edgy crowd and they went from partying every now and again to a daily dependence on drugs. They were given encouragement and support in things that only led to destruction.

It may not seem like a big deal at the time, but there comes a time when you look back to discover how far you’ve changed and how hard it is to go back.

Application: I wonder whether the Israelites just gradually slipped further and further away from God. To the point that when God sent the prophet Ezekiel to speak to them, they needed death and destruction to get their attention.

And that is often the case when we head in the wrong direction. It takes great trauma or devastation for us to head back to the light.

The weekend after 9/11 we hear that the churches were filled with people experiencing fear and grief. And hospital chaplains speak of sick people, faced with death, who ask for forgiveness from their family and God.
Hitting rock bottom can be a terrible thing, but often it’s what we need to turn our lives around and get back on track.

Prayer: Lord, it doesn’t take long before we wander far from You. Forgive us when we choose the wrong direction and help us to stay focused on You. Amen.

Which direction do you feel you’re heading in right now?

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This article was written by Linda Bailey

Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.