Friday, February 18, 2022

Devotionals for the Heart: Life Lessons on Witnessing for Jesus Christ

Knowing When to Walk Away
A devotional by Erin M. Handley

“Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”
 – Matthew 7:6 (NASB)

There is something captivating about watching a particular action repeatedly.

Children enjoying a carousel. People riding a Ferris wheel. A hamster running on its wheel in its cage. Many individuals can sit and watch others enjoy those activities for hours. Watching the repeated action can bring a sense of joy and tranquility. It’s also interesting that the amount of energy required for the repeated action does not bring progression in reaching a new destination.

Sometimes in life, we find ourselves putting a lot of much energy into other things and other people. If this resonates with you, you may also admit to rarely taking a moment to assess whether or not the time and energy you spend actually brings progression in your life. If this is something you identify with, you may be able to acknowledge your purpose of doing things that bring you progression on your journey. Sometimes we do things we want to do out of the goodness in our heart. Sometimes we do things we feel called to do. If nothing else, we believe we are expected to strive to work heartily and only to God and not unto man (Colossians 3:23).

No matter how genuine our heart is as we desire to do things for the Lord, we have to be willing to acknowledge when our actions and pure intentions are not well-received everywhere we go. Matthew 10:14 (NIV) tells us, “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.” This is what Jesus expressed to His disciples who were sent out to share His message. When it was realized that not all places His disciples were sent would be receptive of His word, it was suggested that His disciples leave. Even though the disciples were sent out to spread God’s word to everyone, the disciples were also released from the places that did not accept God’s message.

It can be difficult to know when to abandon an assignment.

A person who can be considered as a person after God’s own heart is genuinely fully committed to helping others know who Jesus is. It is also important to recognize when you have done the work and the work is not welcomed in the place where you are. Staying in that place will have negative effects that are twofold.

First, you will find yourself tired. You will spend a significant amount of time and energy in a place doing an action that will not bring you any progression on your journey. In the moment, you will feel joy and tranquility because you know the work you are doing is for God. But when you take a step back, you will recognize the wheel you were spinning had a lot of traction although it was not actually moving towards a goal.

The second negative effect is that there is an attempt to devalue God’s precious work. He took His time to create you and to prepare you to do the very thing He created you to do. When you go to some of the places that need His good news, not only do they refuse to receive His word, but they also aim to separate you from His goodness.

God tells us, “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” (Matthew 7:6 NASB). If we fail to recognize when we are “spinning our wheels” in His name, then we will eventually find ourselves so tired that we will not have enough energy to continue doing the work or have the energy to fight the things that may come with doing the work.

Be willing to walk away. It’s not always easy, and it is not out of selfish ambition. It is a way to preserve the hearts of those who love Him and desire to continue doing His work. It is a way to focus on continuing to spread His good news. Without being willing to walk away, you may be taking a risk of possibly losing sight of doing His good work.

Let’s Pray: 

Precious Lord, thank you for hearing our hearts before we have cried out to you. You answered the prayers that we haven’t uttered yet. You know our hearts because you know what we desire to do. Thank you for being omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, and never-changing. If you never change, then Your Word (The Holy Bible) never changes. Since Your Word never changes, we have to trust the instructions you have given us for times like this. We don’t always know what we are doing or where we are going, but knowing You are with us is enough. Thank You for preparing us for every step on this journey. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Author Bio:

With an ever-growing desire to continually learn the Word of God and present teachings based on Biblical principles, Erin M. Handley is committed to her calling of teaching and inspiring others to ‘be more by doing more’. With this in mind, Erin mentors young women and appreciates seeing the growth and change in the lives she impacts. 

While she sincerely enjoys mentoring and speaking to young people, she is most passionate about educating and empowering women from various stages of life about Biblical Womanhood and how to live out those principles in today’s world.

For over 15 years, Erin has worked with youth and adolescents in the fields of mental and behavioral health, education, and ministry. When reflecting on her experiences in ministry and non-ministry settings, her most memorable encounters have been those that allowed her the opportunity to teach the Word of God in a way that is most relatable to the audience she served in that moment. She has enjoyed writing since her youth, but only recently felt the call to share her writing with the world.

With an undergraduate degree in English and a graduate degree in Ministry and Pastoral Counseling, Erin M. Handley has been fortunate to be able to leverage her gifts and her passions throughout her career in Education.

Aside from reading, writing, and mentoring, Erin enjoys dancing, interior design, cooking, and most other activities which allow her to utilize her creativity.

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