Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Approach of Faith

What stands out in God’s word this morning is that everything the psalmist was able to pray about in Psalm 25 (as would be true for all the other psalms), was based on approaching God with faith, not with works. Even though the writer was living under the law of the Mosaic covenant, he did not describe coming to God on the basis of what he himself had done, but on a relationship with God that can only be described as faith.

Here are the expressions he uses, all of which indicate coming as one in need, not as one who impresses God by being better than others.

·         “I lift up my soul” (vs 1)
·         “in you I trust” (2)
·         Those “who wait for you” (vs 3)
·         “for you I wait all the day long” (5)
·         “the man who fears the Lord” (12)
·         “those who fear him” (14)
·         “my eyes are ever toward the Lord” (15)
·         “I take refuge in you” (20)
·         “I wait for you” (21)

Seeing so many synonymous expressions of faith, as many facets of the one diamond, impacted me with… (drum roll please)… MORE FAITH!!!!

Or, stronger faith, or more determined faith, or richer faith, or something of that sort.

The point is that, churches, with all our problems, and all the implicit memories on the edge of revealing themselves, and all the strongholds of Satan about to be exposed (hence all the hindrances to spending time with God), and all our sins and worldliness about to be confessed before the Father, the only thing we need to have God hear and answer our prayers is that we lift up our souls to him in faith.

In practical terms, one of the lies of the world, the flesh, and the devil (I can’t always discern which one is the strongest in convincing any of us to neglect our relationship with God), is that we need to have something happen to us, or in our lives, before we can really lift up our souls to God. We think we need to stop being so tired, or stop being so busy, or stop something, so that we can then lift up a much better Soul-Condition to God.

What the psalmist is bringing out, which I believe is the message of the whole Bible, is that we lift up our souls to God in whatever condition they are in because HE is the one who fixes them.

In other words, all we need to do is lift up our souls the way they are, however broken they are, however many pieces and fragments they are in, and just lift them up to him. Bring your dissociative soul-fragments into God’s presence and lift them up to him, no matter how unwilling some of those soul-fragments may be!

One of the passages of Scripture that has impacted me the most in this regard is what God called his people to do if they ever found themselves suffering the ill-effects of their sinful choices. Even if they found themselves in captivity in a foreign land because of their sin, and their refusal to repent when confronted, he promised them this:

“But from there you will seek the LORD your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 4:29).

No matter what the people were going through because of their sin and rebellion against God, all God required of them for reconciliation was that they would seek him with all their heart and soul. Or, as the psalmist said, if they would lift up their soul to God and trust in him.

Jesus’ invitation stands. If we are those who are weary and burdened because we are carrying responsibility for the condition of our souls, both what our sins have done to them, as well as the sins of others, his call is, “Come to me!” What is his promise if we come to him in whatever weary and burdened condition we find ourselves? He will give us rest for our souls (Matthew 11:28-30).

It does not matter whether we are more drawn to the imagery of coming to Jesus, or trusting in him, or any of the other synonymous ways of saying this, Jesus will always hear and answer the prayers of those who lift up their souls to him in faith.

© 2016 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~
Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)

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