Monday, May 9, 2011

Bad Input Produces Bad Results

Now there was no water for the congregation, and they assembled together against Moses and Aaron. And the people contended with Moses, and said, Would that we had died when our brethren died [in the plague] before the Lord! And why have you brought up the congregation of the Lord into this wilderness, that we should die here, we and our livestock?

—Numbers 20:2-4
After I wrote out the verses above, I paused and read them three times. I find it difficult to believe what those people said: "Would that we had died when our brethren died [in the plague] before the Lord!" How could they have said such a terrible thing? Were they actually saying that they would rather suffer, be in torment, and die in slavery than to live freely and with God?

God's Word doesn't lie, so we must accept that those are the things they said. This passage tells me how bad their situation had become. They hadn't changed, and they wouldn't change. They wanted everything to work out for them—that is, to work out in the way they wanted it to—but they were willing to do nothing but gripe and groan.

It's the old idea that people do bad things and expect good results. They grumble at God and expect divine blessings. How can that be? How can they be so confused and twisted in their thinking? But then, I know people like that today.

Rose married an alcoholic named John, and when he got into his drunken rages, he beat her. She left, took their children, and divorced him. Two years later, Rose married again. She married John again—oh, not that John. The second husband's name was Ralph. He was a drunkard, and she repeated the same sad and abusive story. Her third John was named Ken. Although their names were different, it was as if she had married the same man (the same kind of man) three times.

When I met Rose, she grumbled and asked, "Are there any good men out there?" Of course, she later admitted that she had never attended any Christian gatherings, so she had never met a good Christian man. She only met men at parties, and she had always been attracted to man that liked to party.

My point is that it's easy to condemn the Israelites because the Bible lays out their story so clearly. Paul wrote about the wilderness wanderings and urged his readers not to "... discontentedly complain as some of them did—and were put out of the way entirely by the destroyer (death). Now these things befell them by way of a figure [as an example and warning to us]; they were written to admonish and fit us for right action by good instruction, we in whose days the ages have reached their climax (their consummation and concluding period)" (1 Corinthians 10:10–11).

Those stories were written to "admonish and fit us for right action by good instruction," Paul wrote. As long as you continue to act as the Israelites did in their grumbling, you'll get the same results. As long as you live like Rose, you'll have the same disastrous effect. Although I gave the example of Rose, such repetitive situations abound in any area of life. Perhaps you're someone who has your paycheck spent before you cash it. Do you dishonor God by your bad eating habits? Regardless of your situation, as long as you continue with bad inputs, you will end up with bad outcomes.
When you're tired of getting the same negative results—when you're tired of Satan buffeting you and tormenting you—then you're ready to make changes. Those people in the wilderness died outside the Promised Land because they never learned. You have an advantage: You know about them, and you also know that the Holy Spirit wants to change you.

You can change. You can begin by asking God to help you think positive thoughts, because positive thinking produces positive attitudes. Once your attitude changes, your life changes. It's not easy, but it is simple.

Loving Holy Spirit, please help me to think healthy, positive, and godly thoughts. Enable me to produce a good attitude that will please You and lead me into a full and lasting victory. I ask this through Jesus Christ. Amen.

From the book Battlefield of the Mind Devotional by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2006 by Joyce Meyer. Published by Warner Faith. All rights reserved.

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