Proverbs 29:18 (New Living Translation)
When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is joyful.
Aristotle was probably the first to say it. Horror vacui, or “Nature abhors a vacuum,” is a natural principle we all understand. Pour water from a pitcher, and the pitcher fills with air. Extinguish a candle, and darkness replaces the light. Take God out of our lives, and ungodliness rushes in.
We see it in our nation, in our schools, in our places of commerce: Wherever God is banned, Satan is glorified. Where God’s law is scorned, evil and lawlessness rule. Another translation of the above proverb reads, “Where there is no word from God, people are uncontrolled” (NCV). Without the Spirit to guide us, our sinful nature takes charge and leads us into misery and destruction.
The same principle applies to our relationships. When we withhold love and grace from our interactions with others, selfishness and sin rush in to fill the gap. The result: We nurse our anger and resentment instead of seeking healing solutions. We let our tongues go wild with spiteful comments that insult and injure others. We care more about our rights and our pride than about God’s heart and purpose in a difficult circumstance. In every instance where we crowd out the Spirit, we leave a space that Satan is only too glad to fill.
Happily, our proverb tells us that the reverse is also true: Satan gets crowded out by the Spirit when we seek God’s guidance. Even in a hurtful and unjust circumstance, we can find joy when we obey God’s law. Obedience fills our hearts with his love and peace and keeps the devil from getting a destructive foothold in our relationships.
FATHER, I confess that in so many little ways I exclude you from my relationships. I hoard my grudges like diamonds and guard them jealously. I lock out love and forgiveness from my heart and dwell on my injuries, savoring my pain instead of delighting in your mercy and healing solutions. Forgive me, Father. Help me to recognize the instant I turn away from you, and bring me back. Give me a heart that is repelled by my sin and desperate for the cleansing only you can provide.
Deuteronomy 5:32-33; Ephesians 4:26-27
In what small ways do you deny God access to your relationships?