This attempt at art, which is watercolor on sticker paper, became a way for God to reveal a lesson from the book of Ezekiel. I’m already 23 chapters deep into the book and all I can get out of it is about sin, rebellion and judgment.
In my mind, I’m asking: God, are you guilt-tripping me? Are you reminding me of my own sins and wrong choices? Why do these passages feel so negative instead of instructive? The prophecies about God’s anger being satisfied are in simple terms, “scary”. But, I know that the spirit of condemnation is not from God. There must be something hidden that I can’t grasp yet.
Then, when I saw this sticker that I now stuck onto a page in my journal, it finally dawned on me. (I don’t remember why I painted this a few months ago, actually.)
It felt like God begging to the hearts of His people, please stop doing all these things that are pulling you away from me. Please stop being rebellious. Please stop running away from me. Please don’t put me aside and keep placing the wrong things as your priority. Please learn.
The lesson is to learn the lesson.
How many times in our lives have we felt a sense of victory over a certain issue and yet a few days or months later, we have found ourselves in the exact same place? Why does it take multiple falls and redemptions to understand our value and the effect of sin in our lives? How many times will it take for us to learn the lesson?
Each of us have our own “Egypt”. Our past lives before we met Jesus. Maybe it’s a destructive or sinful habit. It can be an unhealthy or untimely relationship. Maybe it’s an idol in our lives—it doesn’t have to be innately bad or damaging, but because of a misaligned heart, it becomes the lord of our lives instead of Jesus.
Why do we keep going back to our Egypt? Why is it that of all the great characters in the Bible who are worth-emulating, we choose to copy the hard-headed Israelites who keep going back to their slavery? God had already freed them from Egypt, but still they would not forsake Egypt’s idols. They still continue to rebel against God even after He has shown them mercy. Chapter 20 shows the rebellion of Israel and how God withheld his anger multiple times. Even when they deserved it, God took pity and withdrew his judgement.
Again and again, God wants to place us in the right track but for some reason we keep losing our way. God will always accept us back, but do we have to push the limits? Grace is not meant for that.
I’m here to tell you that it is possible to move forward. It is possible to receive a breakthrough. It is possible to persevere. It is possible to eliminate a sin pattern in our lives. It is possible to live in victory. It is possible to live a good life that pleases God and fills your heart as well.
It is also possible to take steps towards that direction. Maybe people have told that “you will grow out of it”.
But you still place yourself in situations that will make you compromise your convictions. You still listen to, watch or read the wrong kinds of media or literature. You still go to places that limit your growth. You still surround yourself with people who don’t have the same high standards and beliefs as you.
No. Don’t be passive. Flee from the life God has already freed you from.
Your spiritual growth is your responsibility. Your relationship with God must be two-way in order to be effective and consistent. God is always faithful to you and yes, He is the one who will perfect your faith but that shouldn’t stop you from also seeking Him and learning more about who He is in your life.
I hope we all learn our lessons from the past and begin to live new lives. The old life is gone because of Christ and a new life can begin if we let Jesus reign in us.
“Repent, and turn from your sins. Don’t let them destroy you! Put all your rebellion behind you, and find yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O people of Israel? I don’t want you to die, says the Sovereign Lord. Turn back and live!” – Ezekiel 18:30-32
I pray that an encounter with God would move you to seek a new path in life—something infinitely more than what you have settled for in the past.