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I was reading through a prophetic word I’d received back in 1997, and something stood out that I’d never really put much thought to before. Here’s what was said:
…. There are many people even now trying to lead you down destructive paths. But I’m saying to you tonight: pray for them. Speak My Word into their lives. And if they don’t turn to My way, dust the feet. Shake off the dust and move on. Shake off the dust and move on.
My initial reaction to this statement was unpleasant. Over the past 12 years, whenever I’ve read this portion, I’ve been reminded of what it feels like when someone gives up on me. There have been many moments in my life when I desperately wanted to be free or to hear God’s voice, but I was trapped in one bondage or another. And there would be these elders, mentors, or just Christians with more maturity than me who seemed to give up on me before I found freedom and peace in God.
So this statement initially offended me. I picture all these evangelists who are only interested in the easy converts. People who will instantly jump at the chance to be saved or set free once they hear the Truth. But they seem too busy or preoccupied to help the throngs of people like me who have had more than just a few simple questions. People like me who live for years with the desire to know God and live free, but still feel trapped and don’t know how to get out.
I’ve judged those people who don’t stick it out with the problem sheep. I thought they wanted the glory of easy converts and didn’t want to spare a moment to help a truly troubled soul. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe I misjudged.
At some point, we are each responsible for our response to the Holy Spirit. There are windows of opportunity. I firmly believe this. I have sensed opportunities arrive and watched them pass while I sat pensive and afraid, missing out on what God had for me. And I’ve since also experienced windows of time when an opportunity arose and I stepped forward into what God had for me in that moment.
Obedience Better Than Sacrifice
If I were to adhere to the prophetic instruction I received, I would pray for those people who drag me down, either with their coarse and inappropriate humor or their hopeless and depressed curses spoken over their lives. Then I would share the Word of the Lord that Holy Spirit tells me to share. And if they do not respond, I would move on.
By not allowing my fleshly loyalty or fear of rejection to influence my actions, even my “shaking off the dust and moving on” would be a mercy and a grace to the person. By not enabling a person to remain comfortably in bondage, my obedience to move on removes the comfort of my friendship from their lives. And who knows? Maybe the loss of godly friends would drive a person into such a desperate position that they finally cry out to God in unrestrained humility.
You’re Not God
I’m not telling you all to abandon your lost friends or friends in bondage. God’s word to me may not be His command to you. I’m not pretending to know. But in case He has put something similar to you, I hope this post clarifies the situation for some of you.
The point is that I’m not God, and by maintaining relationships with people who refuse God’s path, I can interfere with God’s work in their lives. Some of my greatest moments with God have come when I was abandoned to despair and I cried out wholeheartedly for mercy. He has been swift to answer my cry. But if those people who I thought had abandoned me were always nearby coddling me, I might never reach a point of coming to terms with my own desperate need for God.
Pride is a hideous and insidious thing. If we think we can get along fine without God, we will try. Think about it. If you have a relationship like this in your life right now, take this word to the Lord and ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. He just might give you some instructions that set you free. Remember, feeling obligated to someone doesn’t necessarily mean God put that feeling there. Not ALL loyalty is from the Father.