Inclinations

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When the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, He said to Himself, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, even though man’s inclination is evil from his youth. And I will never again strike down every living thing as I have done. (‭Genesis‬ ‭8‬:‭21‬ HCSB)

If there is one message from the first eight chapters of the Bible it is that we need God. Another thing that is clear is that we work really hard to believe that we do not need God. We are inclined to try to make it on our own, even when that usually ends up in a mess.  God was clear with Cain:

If you do what is right, won’t you be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it. ~Genesis 4:7

Instead of agreeing with the Creator, the next thing we read is Cain drawing his brother out into the killing field. One doesn’t have to read far into the daily news to know that the spirit of Cain still walks this earth. Inclinations to evil seem to be built in to the human psyche.  In the days of Noah, God noted that…

Man’s wickedness was widespread on the earth and that every scheme his mind thought of was nothing but evil all the time. ~ Genesis 6:5

I think I’m picking up a theme here. I really can’t point at the wicked world and think I’m not like them. The truth is that we are urged to ‘fight the good fight of faith‘ because it is a fight to keep our lives focused on God’s will. No matter how religious we are, we veer towards the wrong. We have those inclinations.

Even good people are drawn to unrighteous behavior and thoughts. I almost don’t want to read what I know happens next in righteous Noah’s story. Why can’t it end here? Because of inclinations.

And so in the first eight chapters of the Bible we are given insight into why we desire to follow the Lord in our lives. Left to our own devices, we are inclined to do what is wrong. But God teaches us a better way.

In Ephesians 2, the Apostle Paul recognizes the truth of both our inclinations and our inspiration.

We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath … But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! ~Ephesians 2:3-5

Yes, I need you Lord. I need you to rescue me … and I need to know that you love me enough to save me. I know I’m not alone in my need to be rescued and I’m so grateful to associate with sinners saved by Grace. Help me to be a beacon to those who are still far away from you. Not to judge them, because I’m no better. But to share with them the good news of someone who can help us with the inclinations of our heart.

Thanks for reading, JD