What do the following people have in common: Adam and Eve; Noah and his family; Joshua; David; the prodigal son; Peter and Saul of Tarsus?
Answer: They all found themselves at a crossroad of crisis in their relationship with God.
—Adam and Eve faced the consequences of their disobedience.
—Noah and his family endured the taunts of ungodly neighbors.
—Joshua stood at the edge of the Jordan with Moses’ challenge in his ears.
—David heard God’s judgment because of his adultery and murder.
—The prodigal son found himself feeding the pigs.
—Peter denied Jesus the third time, then looked into his eyes.
—Saul was blinded physically but was given real spiritual sight for the first time.
There are many other biblical examples of “crossroad crises.” The Bible is literally full of them. One of the primary purposes of Scripture is to demonstrate how God deals with people in different circumstances and to provide lessons for us: “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4).
For both good and bad, these examples are typical of all of us as we face the opportunities, obstacles and temptations of life. Like them, we are presented with the choice of acceptance or rejection of God’s desire to help us move forward and upward in his will.
As Christians move from day to day, life is full of opportunity for children of God. What are some lessons that can be learned from these — and others — to help us mature and be fruitful? Consider just three.
First, even the best among us is subject to temptation. We all “fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Satan is at war with us. Living for God isn’t easy, though some preach otherwise. Those who want to be his disciples must deny themselves and take up their crosses daily.
Second, even though we sin, God still loves us and wants us to ultimately and finally win the victory over Satan. He has given us every spiritual blessing and provided us with the offensive and defensive weapons we need to overcome. In every situation, God gives us the help we need as we “fix our eyes on Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2). Our heavenly Father is waiting and longing for us to come back home.
Third, if we are to be victorious, we must be faithful in the opportunities God has given us. He has already won the victory over Satan through the redemptive work of Christ and has made it possible for us to be obedient. Even when it is hard, and everyone is against us, we can persevere: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31) This isn’t a question of doubt — indeed, God is for us. And remember Jesus’ assurance to the disciples: “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).
David prayed for God’s spirit of renewal to be present in his life. Let us pray for the same spirit as we face the challenges of these difficult days and those of the years to come.