Sunday, March 08, 2009
Doing It Right
I really like the story of King Saul and King David in the Bible. Saul was a "head and shoulder" kind of leader. He depended on his own smarts and his own strength. He made sacrifices that only the priest should have made. He makes a rash vow. He disobeys the Lord in destroying the enemies of Israel. In the end, he disqualified himself from leadership. A haunting thought that has been my adversary for years is the thought that somehow I have, like Saul, disqualified myself from service to God. I have wanted to do the Christian life the right way. I hoped I was doing it well enough to get God's blessing. This would not have been my official theological position, but it was the hope of my heart to earn God's blessing. My attempts to earn God's blessing though brought more doubts because my many sinful thoughts, sinful motives, and sinful actions. Then the events in my life started pointing to the fact that I was not going to be achieve certain goals. This made me want to strive all the more to attain my goals in holiness and ministry. Eventually this struggle to do it right made me very frustrated and God had to bring me to a point of surrender to his will. Studying Psalm 51 this week, a new insight was brought to me. In Psalm 51:11 David says, "Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me." David probably was remembering the Lord rejecting King Saul. When David prayed this prayer it was for good reason. David had committed adultery and murder. He like Saul deserved to have the Lord reject him as a king. This verse got me thinking, it is not that if I am going to mess up and deserve God's rejection, it is a matter of when and how much. Because I mess up as a father, husband, friend, employee, neighbor, citizen, witness, student, brother, son, home owner, and Christian, God should reject me. Instead of worrying if God is going to reject my work, I should say the same prayer of David, "cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me." I am not talking about losing my salvation but the blessing of God on my family, my work, my ministry. I have worried for years about this but see my worry was a blessing to lead me to the deeper issues involved here. Focusing on "doing it right" is to focus on the outward and surface issues. To focus instead on seeking the Lord's blessing is to focus on the deeper issues. In the end, I can't do it right. And that is a blessing since I need the grace of God. I can pray instead of worry.