A fuel delivery service mistakenly deposited jet fuel in a New Jersey gas station’s pumping reservoir in 2012. Some motorists unknowingly filled their piston engine vehicles with jet fuel and their cars quit running.

According to the McNally Institute, the flash point of jet fuel is extremely high, with detonations which will eventually cause a gas engine to fail. While engine damage is bad, a vehicle stalling out in traffic can be worse, exposing occupants and others to accidents and life-threatening injuries.

In the spiritual realm, there’s a whole lot of substituting and stalling out going on.

Unfortunately, when spiritually refueling, we also may assume—incorrectly—that we’re getting what we need when the wrong mixture is flowing.

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What does this have to do with ETL’s commitment of sharing biblical truths which nourish the soul and promote intimacy with Jesus Christ?

Pretty much everything!

Because the primary substitutions found in the spiritual world typically have to do with modifying or replacing pure biblical truth with something else which may seem right; things believed “from God” which don’t have quite the same mixture as what He has already communicated in His Word. And when we’re not running strictly on biblical truth, our intimacy with Jesus Christ begins stalling out.

Warning: We may step on some toes today.

Yet should our toes complain a little when we begin moving to eliminate the flow of substitutes, it’s worth the risk.

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OH, THOSE DAMAGE-INDUCING SUBSTITUTES…

We’re just going to jump right in. Don’t substitute thoughts and feelings for humble obedience to God and His Word—or depend on your feelings to lead you into obedience. You may have just read this and thought, ‘Who does that?’  I admit having this problem at times. The preeminence of feelings and internal rationalization is not only driving society in general, but increasingly permeating the Christian community. Yet this tendency is found as far back as Genesis, where Cain chose to be dictated by his feelings rather than heeding God’s counsel (Genesis 4:3-8).

Among believers, the problem of following our feelings may manifests itself as, “I didn’t sense God’s leading to do that.” While not wrong in many instances, it is wrong when used to bypass clear instructions, teachings, and commands from God’s Word.

Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15).  He did not say if you love Me you will always feel like keeping My commandments. He communicated the measure of our love for Him is to keep His commandments (which, of course, means we need to be in His Word in order to know them).

James 1:22 is also clear: “But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”

Like one who puts jet fuel into a piston engine vehicle, we can be deceived into thinking our feelings are more important than knowing and submitting ourselves to God’s written Word. When this happens, we experience engine failure, so to speak, instead of intimacy with Christ and the joys of traveling the road of righteousness (see Romans 6:16).

Friends, it’s doubtful our feelings will ever lead us to obedience!  Knowing God’s Word and honoring it through an act of our will and the power of the Holy Spirit, however, does (consider John 14:15-17 and Galatians 5:16-17).

Next, don’t substitute submitting yourself to God’s written Word with an apparent special revelation, sign, or message “from Him”. God does speak and direct His children through the power of the Holy Spirit, but not in contradiction to His written Word. The Bible is God’s primary and authoritative communication for this age. This means II Timothy 3:16-17 is not overridden by any dreams we or others may have, by a seemingly prophetic word spoken over us, or through any thought we have or voice we hear:

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

 (Love check: How are your toes doing?)

Like jet fuel in the wrong tank, harmful substitutions can flow smoothly while seeming normal. It isn’t unusual for one or more portions of the Bible to be taken out of context and twisted in an effort to justify doing what we want. Many self-proclaimed Christians claim to have received a special communication from God which they believe exempts them from following certain of Christ’s teachings.

When we hear a person say, “God told me…” we shouldn’t necessarily discount it. But if it runs contrary to what He has already revealed in His Word, don’t fall for it. They are either deceiving others, themselves, or both.

As shared in The Amazing and the Tragic, anything we are reading, hearing, or pondering which gives us a “pass” on following any of God’s commands or instructions for believers (whether a temporary or permanent pass) is a spiritual untruth. And if what we are reading, hearing, or pondering deviates even slightly from what God has communicated and preserved in the Bible about Himself, His Word, the human condition, His children, consequences of actions or inactions—it should also be recognized as patently false.

ELIMINATING STALL OUTS

Some of the drivers with jet fuel in the tanks of their vehicles were likely dismayed to learn of the mix-up. There may have been instances which proved more dangerous than inconvenient or mechanically harmful when their cars stalled out.

Similarly, the spiritual health of anyone seeking to walk with God is endangered anytime they stall out. They aren’t going anywhere; they’re just stuck in “wait” mode.

Of course, waiting on the Lord is good, as seen in Isaiah 40:31 and addressed in the blog What Are You Waiting For? But this is completely different than a believer who is stalling out.

The stalled out believer is one who isn’t obeying God because of something he or she is waiting for.

They’re waiting to feel a certain way, or for God to give them a sign or special word. They want Him to provide an alternate command so obedience on a given matter will be more to their liking.

They aren’t involved in a local church because …

Loving their enemies isn’t possible until …

God hasn’t given them the “freedom” to read their Bibles because …

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When those running the New Jersey gas station learned of the jet fuel error, they knew corrective measures had to be taken. Continuing to allow jet fuel into piston engine vehicles was not acceptable.

How about us?

Are we willing to concede we may have a wrong mixture in our spiritual reservoirs; one affecting our commitment to obey God’s clear commands?

Are we making excuses or stalling out in any areas of obedience?

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Psalms chapter 1 shows us not only how a blessed man does not conduct himself in daily matters, but what he does and how he flourishes!

“But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planed by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.” (Psalm 1:2-3)

No substitutes. No stall outs.

How wonderful!

June

June

People Lover. Author. Blogger. Speaker. Forgiven Much & Wild About God. Learn about June's latest book on her website.

One Comment

  • Evelyn says:

    Wise words June!
    Why do I sometimes allow self to substitute the Hole Spirit speaking truth in my life. The battle against the enemy wages on.

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