Do you have a routine for your quiet time? Mine is pretty simple in this season of life, but I have begun trying to pray Psalm 119:18 before I begin each morning. It says, “Open my eyes so that I may contemplate wondrous things from your instruction.” It helps me center my mind and prepare my heart to hear from God’s Word.
This summer I have been working my way through Luke and the Psalms. And I love how the Psalms often feel like the honest and humble pouring out of a brother or sister in Christ, as they bare the emotions, disappointments, hopes, praises, and pleas from their soul. It resonates with my own struggles and anxieties, but with the ability to point me back to the bigness of God and His faithful love.
My time in Luke started because of a season of great fear and anxiety, and my desire to remember how personal, but also powerful, God the Son is. It’s been an adventure watching Him love others and live out His purpose with power and wisdom that we could only long for as we wait for eternity. It is grounding as well as humbling for me to see myself at His feet, dependent on Him for every breath and step in this life, and the next.
It is easy for me at times to allow the world - which seems to spin more quickly out of control each day, the opinions screaming to be heard and demanding agreement, and every man thinking in his own heart that he is right (Provers 21:2) – to weary my soul and plant seeds of retreat or surrender.
But then my routine Bible reading quietly slips this verse across my lap:
“I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every false way,” Psalm 119:104.
At first it seems to be part of a standard Psalm 119 stanza, honoring God’s Word and emphasizing its truth and power. But this one jumped out at me. (The Lord answers prayers for the opening of eyes!) It provides an equation: As I gain understanding from your precepts, I will hate every false way.
It’s not really optional. Nor is it any kind of retreat or surrender.
As we grow in our understanding from God’s word, we are to be able to recognize evil and dishonesty in all its forms, and despise it.
What that spoke to me this week is that it is not okay for me to sit in a place of paralysis or helplessness when the far-from-Jesus world around me whips up a cyclone of destruction and fear. It says that I can’t be okay with the way I automatically turn some relationships into approval accounts which I can save up and withdraw from as needed to feel valuable. It says the selfish ambition that tries to rule my decisions or parenting has to be put to death. It means that at times, I will have to say the hard thing to the person I love, because their actions may lead them to unintentional evil for themselves or others.
It means that when we draw near to Jesus and allow Him to open our eyes to contemplate His instruction, it will change us. That change may make us or those around us uncomfortable as we open ourselves up to being put back in our place before God’s throne, cast aside the sin we’ve allowed in and become numb to, and then be lifted in His grace to speak love and truth into our hearts and the circumstances of those around us in the world. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven,” Matthew 5:16.
I pray this verse may spur you on toward our Father in confession and renewal, even as it has mine this week.
When we draw near to Jesus and allow Him to open our eyes to contemplate His instruction, it will change us.
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