“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you” (Psalms 32:8 ESV).
I have spent far too many years praying that God would bless my choices and decisions. At face value, that doesn’t seem like a bad thing. But did God send His Son to bless my pursuits? Is Jesus my servant, or am I His?
The answer to those questions may seem obvious. Of course, The father’s motive in sending Jesus was not to promote my agenda, it was so that all of mankind could have the opportunity to be restored to direct fellowship with Him. And God does not exist to serve me; I exist to serve Him!! But are those facts the reality by which I live my life?
When was the last time that I started my day with, “Lord direct my path today. Guide me by Your Spirit to do the things that You want me to do. Embolden me to speak the words that You want me to speak.”? I’m more accustomed to prayers like this. “God, I really need Product X; please make that possible.” “God, I know that I got myself into this mess, but please get me out!” “God, why did So-and-So get that position (or material thing, or whatever)? That should be me!”
If you haven’t already figured it out, but for the grace of God I am a filthy heathen. To be sure, the same can probably be said about you, too. And if you don’t think so, perhaps you need to step back and reevaluate. The sooner we recognize the flaws in our way of thinking, the sooner we will be able to submit to the Lordship of Jesus. It’s so easy to think of ourselves first, or even others first, that we lose sight of Who really should be first.
I’m sure that none of us always gets it wrong. We have our moments of surrender, on our knees with our hands raised high over our heads. Moments where it all clicks. We catch a fleeting glimpse of who He is, and everything we have considered righteousness is exposed as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). Those times, quite unexpectedly, are among my favorite moments, not because I’ve been exposed, but because I have seen Him clearly. It’s in those times when I understand grace most clearly; and I can extend grace most purely.
Psalm 32:8 would ring in our ears every morning if we would only take the time to listen. “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you” (Psalms 32:8 ESV).
It seems to me that the healthy Christian life holds in tension two realities: the ongoing power of sin in our lives along with the even greater power of Jesus and the Holy Spirit to move us in the direction of God and goodness. If we don’t have the awareness of sin, it is easy to become arrogant, self-satisfied, and self-dependent. If we don’t have the awareness of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, it is easy to be cynical and despairing regarding genuine spiritual change and greater fruitfulness.
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Yes! Simul Justus et Peccator.