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God often starts small when prompting us to do well, avoid sin, and withstand temptation.
It's that still, small voice saying "don't do it."
But what happens when we start weighing our options, compromising with it, or if we decide that it's not that bad. What happens when we ignore the gentle prompting? Will we get a bigger one?
This is what the LORD says: "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, 'We will not walk in it.' I appointed watchmen over you and said, 'Listen to the sound of the trumpet!' But you said, 'We will not listen.' (Jeremiah 6:16-17 NIV)
Sometimes there may be punishment involved, as God wants us to avoid sin for our own benefit. But other times, He just stops trying so hard to talk to us.
I teach horseback riding lessons to teen students. I love them all as if they were an extended family. Sometimes I get a student who listens to everything I say and tries their hardest. Other times I get one who only gives me half-hearted effort or even ignores me because they think they know better.
My response - I put less energy into the ones that are not trying. At first I put more energy into them, but I soon found it wasn't worth it. And sometimes, they decide that I'm mean because I'm picking on them. I realized this was the best way to handle them. Until they learn my way is better, they will continue to show no progress.
So what about you? Have you ignored God's gentle prompting so often you don't hear Him like you used to? I have enormous good news. If you start today, this minute, to gain sensitivity to His prompting, it will become easier to hear him. Agree with Him, stop arguing, and realize that HIS way is better.