Monday Meanderings on His Path
Psalm 25:4,5 NKJV - “Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day.”
Could it be that we have not because we ask not, when it comes to our Lord’s ways and His paths? Are we waiting “all the day?”
These are surely days for keeping on course through the Psalms! They have come to represent the journey of learning a pattern of prayer that sees its answers in the promises and ways of God. This verse provides a springboard for some reasons our prayers don’t get answered - at least an aspect of that. This verse would be an excellent one to write on a small paper, to carry through the day, to pray it every time we need to reach up to our Heavenly Father, for our natural ways are surely not His ways!
The psalmist, King David - as he does in so many instances - brings his petitions to the Mercy Seat, the Throne of Grace. There he states his case, which often transforms itself into short or long recitations of God’s faithfulness to respond and act. The direction his words take reveals how this pattern informs his faith in God’s faithfulness, as he proclaims his awareness that God is answering. He often concludes his song with an offering of praise from a grateful heart for what was, is, and shall be - based upon his experience with the reality of praying (by way of his songs) according to God’s Way and will.
This pattern can be a booster and encouragement to how we pray. This may seem circuitous, but remember - it is entitled Monday Meanderings…
Intentionally and habitually remembering what God has done in His faithfulness to us, with gratitude and thanksgiving in prayer (and songs of praise) boosts our faith, faithfulness, and receptivity of mind and heart to God’s loving will. Prayer along these lines serves to remind us of all that God is doing, can do, and will do. But we need also to remember that He always answers in accord with what will bring about our highest good in Christ Jesus, which in turn glorifies Him. Our ultimate good is His glory because He is the Lord Who is also Love!
This is often a missing component in the praying seen reflected frequently in (online or other) prayer requests. It reveals a profound lack of understanding and practical teaching, since much of what is asked for reveals that the petitioner is expecting God to align His holy purposes with what one wants when one wants it, rather than a surrender of heart and life to be aligned with God’s purpose. Many have this confused as they are, sadly, encouraged to “dream big” and that sort of thing.
This is the tragedy of modern American religions in particular, for they are being encouraged to trade their birthright - the growth into sonship that God has in mind for them in Christ - for a bowl of earthly stew, as the spiritual is sacrificed to the carnal ease of this life, and the temporal things which pass away are embraced rather than the eternal Good that is Christ Himself.
One obvious example these days is asking God to bless America, when America - in both the political and personal arenas - has a pattern of reliance on self will and control over others. God cannot bless this attitude, for what’s being asked is that He bless our earthbound attitudes and behaviors, wherein we think prayer is some sort of magical panacea that replaces repentance! Such prayers reflect the age old error of thinking “God is on our side” because we espouse a certain political perspective. This is patently in error! For God’s Kingdom is not of this world, nor are those called according to His plans and purposes.
But perhaps I digress. Yet, what it all reflects is self will, hearts not surrendered to God, and lack of humility toward His Truth. The theme song is, “I Do It My Way,” as the nation’s leaders are only reflections of its people.
It might be a far wiser course, instead of thinking in terms of making America great again, to pray that America be made Godly again (if it ever really was)? Yet clearly God will let us go our way, on into the consequences of “my truth.”
Woe be unto such! That is not a curse; it’s a statement of what is already transpiring, in our self willed personal and political annihilation, because we have not really sought the Way of Christ - Who shed His blood to ransom us from sin, self, and Satan - according to the will of our Heavenly Father, Who also pours out His Holy Spirit of Wisdom and Truth, so that we may find real freedom from all which self idolatry will bring in to destroy our life.
So - as separation from the will of God seems to be the direction so often chosen - many will continue to brew and stew in the consequences of this path. Personally as well as politically. Sin dominates, self directs, and Satan eventually lays hold of any who have this mindset.
There will be a point of no turn around. Let that sink in.
“Save me, O God, for the waters are up to my neck.” Psalm 69:1. When you’re in over your head, it will be too late. “Therefore let all who are godly pray to You while You may be found. Surely when great waters rise, they shall not come near.” Psalm 32:6.
“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double minded.” James 4:8.
“Following your heart” won’t bring what (or rather Whom?) most don’t even realize is the deepest longing of the very depths of their being, for “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9. The natural, fallen heart stands in the way of God’s best for us, to bring us home to Him. Even what we call “good hearted” may be a self serving kind of self righteousness.
“Going within” for the answers is equally as treacherous a path of deception, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.” Romans 7:18.
It is imperative to salvation that every part of our life and being is surrendered in full, without compromise, continually. No turning back. All of it - self and every part of our life and being must be submitted to the life transforming Grace of God. Grace isn’t about getting off the hook and to go on living a sinful lifestyle with ungodly attitudes! Grace is the power of God to set us free from those things, and to put us on the road to eternal life, where we will always be able to partake of His salvation, beginning here and now.
Our gracious, all knowing Heavenly Father wants to set us on the Narrow Way, in our Lord Jesus Christ, that leads to life. He is not trying to punish or limit us. He knows there’s only one way, and He wants to bring us off the broad way onto the highway of holiness and wholeness. We go off track by not participating in His Life and Love in Christ’s redemptive work for and in us. He loves us, so He shows us the only Way home to Him, as He invites us to walk this Way.
This call goes out to people who are outside His Church. It is also for those inside the Church, who need to have their understandings sharpened - who may be catechized, sacramentalized, and/or outwardly sanitized, but not truly evangelized or surrendered to the full power of the Holy Spirit on an ongoing basis, who take it all for granted! Self is on the throne. Prayers often reflect which god rules when there is ceaseless chaos, drama, confusion, and spiritual dangers we cannot comprehend! There may be a lot of “rules” which people espouse, but there is not surrender to the Spirit sent forth from the King. The rules are meant to bring us to the end of ourselves. They are the “Law” that is the schoolmaster pointing to Christ.
Jesus gives the answer, the directive, and the promise. (Amplified Classic Version used, as it gives the fuller intended expression to “ask, seek, and knock.”) “So I say to you, Ask and keep on asking and it shall be given you; seek and keep on seeking and you shall find; knock and keep on knocking and the door shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks and keeps on asking receives; and he who seeks and keeps on seeking finds; and to him who knocks and keeps on knocking, the door shall be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a loaf of bread, will give him a stone; or if he asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, evil as you are, know how to give good gifts [gifts that are to their advantage] to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask and continue to ask Him!” Luke 11:9-13. What an amazing promise!
Prayers reflect either willfulness or a will fully submitted to the Holy Spirit. The former speaks in prayers that constantly ask for something to be changed in life, rather than understanding life as a gift that God uses to change the person, the difficulties included.
Christianity is not psycho babble or a cake walk of endless desserts. Neither is it a set of rules and regulations. It is a solemn daily walk of being united to Christ, a life long path, whereby God intends to transform slaves of Satan, self, and sin into sons of God, where we learn to surrender to that almighty intention, the will of God in Christ Jesus - our wisdom, our redemption… in order to be made, little by little, the righteousness of God in Him! See 2 Corinthians 5:21.
We cannot do this as long as God is our co-pilot in the passenger seat, while we’re in the driver’s seat!
Dear Heavenly Father, please send Your Holy Spirit, so that our eyes are opened to see, and our will is inclined to surrender, every stronghold of darkness which influences us not only from without, but from within, from which we truly do need to be set free, by Your grace and wisdom in Christ Jesus. Let us walk in the cleansing power of Your Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit, please counsel and comfort us as we seek and walk in Your will and way - being conformed to the likeness of our Lord Jesus Christ. Show us Your ways, O Lord; Teach us Your paths. Lead us in Your truth and teach us, For You are the God of our salvation; On You we wait all the day. Amen.
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