There are many lessons we can learn from the people of Israel and their experience in the wilderness. Some examples are pointed out to us blatantly by Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:6–11: 1) we should not lust as they lusted, 2) become idolaters as were some of them, 3) commit sexual immorality as some of them did, 4) tempt Christ as also some did, nor 5) complain as some of them complained. Whew. That’s quite the list to keep in mind as we walk the Christian walk.
While I was reading the book of Numbers this morning, I came upon another example that resonated with me:
The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the people of Israel, and tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a cord of blue on the tassel of each corner. And it shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the Lord, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to whore after. So you shall remember and do all my commandments, and be holy to your God. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God: I am the Lord your God.” — Numbers 15:37–41, ESV
The Lord instructed the people of Israel to make tassels of blue cords for their clothes so they would see them and remember to obey the Lord and be holy. Likewise, in the New Testament, Peter tells us to be holy in all our conduct, as the Lord is holy (1 Peter 1:14–16).
So how can we “remember” to be holy, obeying the commands of the Lord? Should we put tassels on our garments so we don’t follow after our fleshly lusts? Of course we don’t need to do that. We don’t have to wear anything (including these blue tassel earrings I found online), for we have the Word of God. In fact, Psalm 119:11 tells us: “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” I can’t even begin to number the times that I’ve been on the verge of sinning (either in my heart or through my actions, whether it was a sin of omission or commission), when the appropriate Bible verse pops into my mind. Sometimes I don’t even recall the entire verse, but I don’t need to, because just a snippet is enough to bring me to my senses and set me back on the right track—the godly track.
Of course, any believer would agree Scripture is vital to the life of a Christian. And we must read the Word to know the Word. But sometimes our flesh seems to get in the way, and those good things we want to do—like read a chapter of the Bible and pray in the morning—become those things we don’t seem to have the ability to carry out (see Romans 7).
So what do we do? Well, to put it in the vernacular, we fight like a girl. Yes, we fight against that flesh with all our might. Do what it takes. A pastor I admire and respect, Shane Idleman, puts a sticky note on his phone: “Seek God first.” In other words, “Don’t even pick me up, buster. You’ve got better things to do.” There are some who actually place their phone in the dresser drawer and use an old-fashioned alarm clock to wake them up. They are doing what it takes. Can you say the same?
Ladies, how are you doing in this area? Three-minute devotionals will not make a Spirit-filled Christian. To be Spirit-led and, therefore, win against the flesh on a regular basis, we must saturate ourselves in the Word of God. That means doing whatever is necessary to read significant portions of Scripture. This is our tassel.
Have you ever read the Bible from cover to cover? If not, start today; find a good Bible plan. Use a Bible app on your phone, but only if it won’t cause you to stumble—it’s too easy to stray when a Facebook notification pops up or you get a text. Your mind will scream, “Oh, but I have to answer that” or “I just need to add this one reminder to my shopping list,” and before you realize it, an hour has passed, and you’ve wasted your morning devotional time again. I know from experience. (If you’re an evening person, do it then, but the same rules apply—get rid of all distractions.)
If you don’t use a plan, then just read. Read whole books at a time. Read the Old as well as the New Testament. If you can only manage one chapter, read one chapter, but read regularly. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand and apply what you read. Ask God to teach you about Himself. (He loves that prayer!) Put those tassels on your garments every single day, and soon you will be seeing the fruits of a faith-filled, Spirit-led walk with Christ. And oh, what a pleasure that is!