2003-06-30 - Summer Questions
Joshua 7:19 "Then Joshua said to Acan, 'My son I implore you give glory to the Lord, the God of Israel, and give praise to Him; and tell me now what you have done. Do not hide it from me.'"
<< I appreciate your devotionals and decided to take you up on the offer to send you a question. My question or maybe it's a concern is that I find my self praying and thanking God for his blessings, though I have some guilt when praying for earthly achievements that I long for. Even though I say "If it's your will Lord". My experience through faith suggests that it's OK to pray for yourself (for earthly achievements in my case like winning sales contests) but somehow it doesn't feel quite right. Any suggestions? >>
The verse above is torn out of context because the context of the verse does not apply here, but the section about Joshua's call to give God glory and praise really does fit the context of this question. This is exactly what I see you saying here: you desire what is good or best for yourself, but you want to do that within God's will. The important thing is to return praise and honor to the Lord.
It is OK to pray for ourselves. In fact, I suggest it. It would be foolish not to pray for ourselves. In some cases prayer for ourselves might be confession of sin, but in other cases we may pray that the Lord guide us and things go well with us. This could be in relationships or in our professional lives. The truth is that the Lord already knows our hearts and our desires, but their is something special about prayer. God promises to bless through prayer. Psalm 2:8 tells us, "Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Thine inheritance, and the ends of the earth as Thy possession." There is a real promise we can hope in and there are so many others in Scripture.
I think the tone of what you said is good. You mention that you thank God for His blessings. It is so important to be thankful to the Lord for the mercies He shows us. Psalm 92:1 says, "It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praises to Thy name, O Most High." 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, "In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." Scripture is clear that we ought to give thanks to God. When things go well with us, or even when they don't, we are to thank the Lord for the mercy He has shown us. Even when things look like they are going as poorly as possible, His grace and mercy is all around us. Even then it is still time to thank the Lord.
There is nothing wrong with earthly achievements. However, we cannot make them our focus. Doing well, financially, on earth has no eternal significance and we are to live with a mindset that is heavenly. A mindset that is glued to the things of God is something that is difficult to cultivate, but we must seek it. In Philippians 3:20 we are told that our citizenship is in heaven. It is hard to keep this at the front of our minds, but heaven is our home. Seeking success here on earth is not wrong, but losing focus of our true home is. We need to find a balance between the two.
Thank you for your question. It is one that I think many think about. We all want to do the best we can, but it can seem to be a contradiction to seek to do well here and yet being living for Christ. It seems to me that your perspective is good. You seek to bless the Lord for His graciousness and yet you also want to do well. Neither of those are wrong. I hope that helps and feel free to write back.
Soli Deo Gloria,