Lesson 9 -- fourth quarter 2004
October 31, 2004
© Copyright 2004, Christian Light Publications
Probing Your Own Heart
How do you know that you trust God first and foremost?
Is praying trust your "automatic" response to needs, problems, and fear?
Building on Some Foundational Concepts
Communing with God corrects our perspective.
Generally speaking, the eyes in our head see with greater clarity and range than do the eyes of our heart. That's to be expected since our spiritual being inhabits a physical body. So we look around us and notice that those who ignore or mock God succeed and prosper in spite of that. If our perspective remains no more insightful than that, we likely will mirror this response: "Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency...it was too painful for me" (Psalm 73:13,16). What we need at that point -- actually, we need it long before that point! -- is better sight with our inner eyes. And the only way to attain that is to commune with God: "Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I..." (Psalm 73:17). When you find yourself bemoaning your own lack of success while observing the successes of the ungodly, talk with God about it. Turn your focus back toward God and His precepts. Then you will see the true nature of their success and you will be blessed with your own standing before God.
The proper response to our own self-pity is repentance.
To feel sorry for myself is essentially (and often, unwittingly) to question the love and justice of the Sovereign One. Self-pity ultimately is no different from challenging the wisdom and foresight of the Omniscient One. So who am I -- who are you -- to dare such a thing?! "Foolish was I, and ignorant" (Psalm 73:22). Indeed! "Now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes" (Job 42:5,6). If you have self-pity, repent of it.
Questions and Responses
Is it wrong to admire (and/or envy!) the prosperity of the ungodly?
Wrong perspective -- try again! The question with the correct perspective for the Christian would sound more like this: What is right about admiring and even envying the prosperity of the ungodly? But...let's consider just a bit of God's Word to see if we can detect at least part of His answer to the original question.
"For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his soul?" (Job 27:8).
"But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God" (Ecclesiastes 8:13).
"But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?" (Luke 12:20).
"Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass" (Psalm 37:7).
"For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them" (Proverbs 1:32).
"...And whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away" (Psalm 1:3,4).
But what if I don't feel that God is with me?
If you meet God's conditions for being with you, what difference does it make that you can't feel Him with you? He said He would never leave you nor forsake you. Cling to that promise and never mind not being able to feel Him with you! By the way, where in the Scriptures are we told what it's like to feel God is with us? We really have no way of accurately and inerrantly using feelings to determine that God is with us.
Notice again what David wrote in today's lesson: "Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory" (Psalm 73:23,24). He accepted the reality of God's presence with him on the basis of his decision to choose God and His counsel.
Something else yet: What if you don't feel your brain? Well, you don't! But that changes nothing -- you have one nonetheless. You accept that truth on the basis of certain conditions and proofs.
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