2005-12-18 - Since Jesus Came into My Heart
Psalm 13, Part 4, Conclusion
How often, like David, do we expend tremendous energy trying to devise plans to change circumstances? We beat down the doors of heaven with our complaints and requests for a rubber stamp. We pace the floor and toss and turn on our beds, and nothing changes, but
it doesn't need to matter that nothing changes. Oh sure, we can have pain, life can be difficult, but praise the Lord, we can also have times of fun and enjoyment. But we must remember the real focus of life isn't changed circumstance.
As we follow David's heart. we can see all that has occurred is simply a change in spirit. This change comes from seeing the Lord - not David's problems, not his enemies, not even his life, as the center of that life.
The other point that we should note here is: David wasn't concerned with how others viewed life in general, or even his situation specifically. He said, "But as for me, I have trusted " We aren't responsible for how others respond to life. We are responsible to trust the Lord for ourselves. No matter how difficult things are, we are to trust.
What is even harder, we must remember to trust in God when things go well. We must do this, no matter how much we feel we are in control, for it is as things are going well that often times, we act as if we are the ones who are responsible for the positive situation, but we aren't. God is in control. We don't even have the faith to depend on God. The Holy Spirit is the one who empowers us to be faithful.
" I pray that out of his glorious riches, he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being." (Ephesians 3:16).
As we look over our days, we can see the faithfulness of God. It is His faithfulness we are to trust, for He loves us, and He is the only one who can truly see what is best for us.
We sometimes note how it appears some Christians seem to stroll through life with nothing going wrong. At times we wish we could have it that way. But we know that at least for us, our growth comes out of struggle. Understanding this, let's be careful not to judge those who seem to be having an easy time of it. First, this doesn't automatically mean they aren't growing. Sometimes we'd like to believe this to justify our own difficulties.
Second, we really don't know what is going on in someone else's life. What may appear to be storm-free and placid on the outside, may be torn by major storms, just below the surface. One of the greatest falsehoods of this day and age, is that we should live based on how we feel about things. "The love has gone out of our marriage, so it should end." This actually means, "I don't feel the old excitement, and I want to find it again." "I can't stand that person, so why should I do anything for her," which means, "I don't feel comfortable and my comfort is more important than obedience." "I'm burned out so I'm dropping out." This means, "My emotional condition is the basis for my willingness to be obedient to the Lord."
Our feelings are from the Lord. He certainly is well aware of our needs, and grants us times of rest because of our emotional state. But too often, this kind of self-absorption is simply a socially acceptable way for excusing our unwillingness to work in the Christian faith. When used as an excuse, it has no more validity than the "Twinkie Defense" or using PMS to excuse murdering one's husband.
We must be willing to say with David, "but as for me," for we are finally only responsible for our own walk, our own witness before the Lord. Sometimes we have to keep working, even when it's tough. We force ourselves when it's for a paycheck, but when it's for the Lord, it's less tangible. We cannot change ourselves, or for that matter, anyone else. Only God can do this. While He may choose to do it in or through us, the Holy Spirit is still the one Who changes the hearts of fallen men, male and female.
We also see the real basis for being able to live above circumstances is not just to hold on to the trust worthiness of God, but also the fact He has given us the greatest gift of all, the gift of our salvation. If He chose to never do anything else for us, we still don't have enough time to praise Him for His love and mercy.
We can spend the rest of eternity praising and worshiping Him for this one act. The fact He may choose to leave us in a difficult situation, or He may choose to allow us comfort, isn't the issue. The only issue is: Are we responding to the ultimate gift, being at peace with Him?
So our lives should be one of song, of joy, of praise - for we have a faithful God who has chosen us for salvation. Beyond this, He has chosen to watch over us as a loving Father, caring for us and meeting our needs, as He in His infinite wisdom sees them.
"And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28).
What a joy then, that all God expects in return is that we love Him and love our neighbor. What more should we want from life, than to be able to love Him and love others with His love. And as we allow the Holy Spirit to work in us, He will manifest that love. Then we will have the joy and excitement of seeing Him work the miracles, the unexpected changes in lives that we in our own strength could never have any hope for.
As we allow the Spirit to live in us, then we will truly see victory. The real victory of the Christian life which comes, not from success as the world sees it. It comes from experiencing the joy of the Lord, in good times and bad. It comes from truly being able to allow God's agapé to flow through us.
Victory comes from being freed from circumstances, be they good or bad, and being able to rest in God. It comes from being able to thank Him for the good times. to thank Him for Himself and the gift of our salvation in the midst of the bad. It means we can live in peace, joy, and confidence no matter what may be going on in our circumstances. Then we can say with true joy and praise of the Lord:
Nothing Has ChangedEverything Has Changed!
What a wonderful change in my life had been wrought
2 McDaniel, Rufus, H. and Charles H. Gabriel, The New Church Hymnal, "Since Jesus Came Into My Heart," Lexicon Music Inc., Newbury Park, CA, 1976, # 430.
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