June 8, 2016

Psalm 18:3 I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
and I am saved from my enemies.

There was a very simple reason David prayed so much: he knew it worked. Probably starting when he was a young boy herding sheep and dealing with lions and bears, he learned that praying made a difference. There are lots of people who would like prayer to work, but they don’t like the corollary: we are accountable to the One to whom we pray. That has been an issue from the dawn of mankind. We want things our way, and we don’t like to submit our wills to anyone. All authority structures are to some degree reflections of the relationship between God and man. No strictly human organization reflects it perfectly, because there are no perfect human beings, or organizations, for that matter. However, employee satisfaction, and even performance, are closely related to how responsive they feel management is to their needs. The flip side of that is that management values employees who go by the rules and apply themselves fully to their jobs. It is very instructive that one of only two people Jesus praised for their faith was a Roman soldier, who understood this whole matter very well. (Matthew 8:5-13) If we want to operate in the power and authority of God, we’ve got to be submitted personally to that authority ourselves. This is where grace comes in big time, because God treats us much better than our actions deserve. We are obedient sometimes, but He is loving all the time. Sometimes His love takes the form of discipline, (Hebrews 12:7-11) but He doesn’t just throw us away in disgust, however much we might do that if we were in His place. David made some major errors, but he repented and God didn’t throw him out of the game.

I have certainly experienced the grace and mercy of God. As the world looks at it I haven’t had a “rough” life, but I definitely haven’t always lived consistently with the truth I knew. Jesus made it clear that we are responsible to the degree we have been blessed, (Luke 12:47-48) and by that standard I deserve to have the book thrown at me, since I have been familiar with the Book from childhood. To compound that, I am now a pastor/teacher, and as James pointed out, I am held to a stricter standard. (James 3:1) However, I have learned as David did that when I cry out to God in humility He is there, and I am deeply grateful. (I’ve also learned the pitfalls of pride, but that’s another, and long, story.) I know that as long as I am walking in Christ I have absolutely nothing to be anxious about, so my focus is on being as close, and as obedient, as He enables me to be.

Father, You know the level of my success better than I do, but I know that I can have no success apart from You. Help me indeed be done with both anxiety and pride, flowing with Your Spirit on Your schedule for Your glory, so that Your will may be accomplished in and through me for Your pleasure. Thank You. Praise God!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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