Have you ever prayed to God to deliver you from a situation, but you were caught up in doing things that kept you stuck in the situation? I know I have done it plenty of times. Here’s the scripture that I’ve been reminded of when I’ve been stuck on stupid–
“Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison.
And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me. And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision.
When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him. And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.” (Acts 12:5-11)
There are two things that I notice about deliverance from this passage. First, God takes care of the stuff that is beyond our strength or control and second, we have to take care of the stuff that is within our capabilities. After the saints prayed (prayer puts deliverance in motion), the angel was sent to loose Peter’s chains, wake him up, and lead him out by opening the locked gates. But Peter was responsible for following the angel’s instructions, getting himself dressed, following the angel out of the prison, and finding his own way to a safe house.
Often we ask for deliverance from preventable sickness, but still want to overdo it when it comes to sweets and sodium and wonder why we’re not healed. We ask for deliverance from sinful habits but still give ourselves too much idle time to feed those habits (like cruising the Internet without a positive purpose, stopping by happy hour after work, watching television shows and movies that encourage our bad ideas). We ask to be debt-free and then apply for a new credit card or buy a luxury item without a second thought. You know what I mean–we’re stuck on stupid.
When we seek deliverance, God gives us wisdom to take care of our part. We are laborers together with God. Too many times we expect God to carry us out (how lazy is that!) when he’s telling us “I gave you the ability to walk out of this, now let me show you the way.” He holds up his end of the deal, but we have to hold up our end for there to be success.
–Harry A. Gaylord–