Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Reflections on Psalm 37

In Bible class the other day, Pastor Bob talked about how God has a fantastic plan. "He promises to give you the desires of your heart. But many of God's people say, 'Well I've been doing A, B and C for God, and He's not given me those desires.' Whynot? Bcause you wanted to give to God, serve Him, and honor Him to see what you could get out of it."

I asked myself, do I do that? At first I thought not. I serve and honor God because I love Him. Because what else is there? Who else is even remotely worthy? Who else has the power? But... most of that's kinda like sucking up to the king, now, isn't?

You recognize who has the power to bless and promote so you serve him, treat him well, do what he asks. And then, when he doesn't bless or promote like you'd like, you're angry and sulky. You feel sorry for yourself. You compare what he's given you with what he's given others and you feel resentful and jealous. As if you've been treated unfairly.

You've forgotten who you are and what He did for you. And you are most definitely serving for what you can get out of it. If you have any kind of reaction whatsover when you don't get what you wanted -- the sales, the approval, the recognition, people doing what you want them to do -- when you think you've been serving and doing what God wanted and yet you're not happy with how things have turned out... then you probably need to take another look at your motivation.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and he will direct your paths. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. ~ Proverbs 3:5,6 ; Psalm 37:4

In all your ways acknowledge Him does not mean giving a nod to God as you go about your plans. Delight yourself in the Lord doesn't mean you like God and think well of Him. That word for delight really has the connotation of making love to Him. That means intense focus. That means you put aside all your own concerns and desires for the sake of the beloved. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, all your way of thinking, all your self. All of it His thinking, none of it your own understanding...

I memorized this series of verses long ago. I'll bet a lot of people have memorized them and claim them, but they are not unconditional promises. There are some things you have to do before the Lord is going to give you "the desires of your heart." And those things are huge.

This is not some surface thing, not yet another way of getting what you want out of life. All these words speak of major inner transformation and focus and devotion.

Pastor Bob said, "Not until you let go of your life, your personal goals and visions and recognize that God had a Plan -- He's put you here (not to be a successful, respected writer) but to live like Jesus Christ."

He's not even put me here so I can be a successful, respected Christian (from the world's point of view.) I'm here to be a witness in the legal trial that is the angelic conflict. To concentrate on thinking the right thoughts. On enduring. On taking all the doctrines I've learned and applying them to my life. On loving myself because of who and what He's made me to be -- a new creature, perfect in his sight. It's being a witness in the invisible war in which we fight. It's remembering always that the only thing I deserve is eternal condemnation. The only thing any of us deserve.

It is focusing on and appreciating all the great -- but often invisible -- things we've been given as believers in Christ, and not worrying about our plans, our work and whether it brings about the results we desire. It's God who's doing the real work, and it is bringing about the results He desires.