2017-09-07 - When His Back is Turned
Originally Published 1999-11-25
Job 23:10-11 "But He knows the way I take; When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold. 11 "My foot has held fast to His path; I have kept His way and not turned aside. (NAS)
I stopped by the dojo (karate school) early one morning to pick up some homework papers from a class I am taking. I greeted my instructor, Sensei DeGori, and we talked for just a minute. He asked why I stopped by so early and I asked him if I could get the papers from the class. He happily complied. We exchanged goodbyes and I headed for the door. To get to the door I had to leave the exercise area. When you enter and exit the exercise area, students are supposed to bow out of respect for their teacher, and the place they learn in and the school as a whole. I like the concept because it really puts my mind in a respectful mind set to learn.
As I was leaving, I noticed that Sensei was busy at the computer and was not paying attention to me as I left. I knew he had things to do and that was okay. Then, the Lord struck me with a thought. Sensei had trusted me to obey the protocol, even when his back was turned. I have seen him stand at the exit and turn small boys and girls, one by one, gently by the shoulders to remind them to comply with the requirement to bow as they scramble to meet their parents. It is never harsh, and is often allowed to slip with the youngest ones. There will be time for that later. They are not being disrespectful, they are just being kids. Respect and trust are earned over time. I rarely see anyone who has been at the school for any length of time fail to bow with a heart of respect for what they are learning, how they are being taught and how they are improving themselves in every aspect of themselves.
I know the analogy does not fully hold, but how do we behave, as Christians, when no one is looking, when God's back is turned? Of course the Father sees and knows everything. Nothing is a surprise to Him. But do we obey the protocol and earn His trust and respect with our conduct? There is an old saying: "When someone accuses you of something, have lived so that they will not be believed." You must have a track record for this to work. When the enemy of our souls attacks with a verbal battery, will people wonder if there is any truth to the lie, or will they simply dismiss it as impossible. Jesus before the Pharisees and Sadducees requested that if He had committed a crime that it would be named. His question was never answered with anything other than the backhand of a guard, which alone was cause for the dismissal of any charge. Paul would have been found guilty of no crime by Festus. If Paul had not appealed to Caesar, he would have gone free. The charges for both should have been dropped. To open the way of salvation Jesus was condemned. For an opportunity to tell the good news of Jesus Christ to Caesar, Paul gave his all.
Are you struggling with your faith or your flesh. Ask Jesus for strength and for faith. Let Him know you need help. Lean on Him. He wants you to know that He is trustworthy and dependable in times of difficulty. You are never alone. If you have blown it, He stands ready to forgive the broken and contrite heart. The proud man will be withstood, but the humble heart of gratitude for mercy and forgiveness will be accepted every time. Because He knows what we're doing when His back is turned. He is simply teaching us to be faithful in the little things, even when no one is looking.
Prov 29:23 A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit. (KJV)
Lord Jesus - give us the strength and courage to be faithful to You, even when no one is looking. Help us to build faith that works in a crowd or in the middle of the woods on a hike. When we honor You in the little things faithfully, we can expect growth in our lives and more challenges ahead. Amen.
Grace & Peace,
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.