Monday, April 07, 2014

It Doesn't Work That Way

Good Monday morning! I know you have seen the little old ladies in the commercial, mostly because I have seen it and I don't even have television service. "None of this stuff works that way!" she says. If you have tried self-improvement and self-salvation, you know what this is all about. Psalm 127:1 reminds us: "Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it. Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain." This is easy to take as, "I shall do nothing until the Lord gets me up and moving with His mighty hand." From my experience, that is not quite what the Lord meant there. We do have a calling to perform, and we do have work to be done for taking care of the self and those who depend on us. However, first we must seek the Lord and His will. Prayer comes before the performance, in other words.

Often, I think I know exactly what needs doing to improve my life and my situation. I take this view and present it to the Lord in prayer. I fail. What went wrong? I tried to build my house without the Lord. I watched the dark countryside in the dark of night on my own, and in my own plan and strength. I didn't wait to hear the Lord's will, but took off with the rolled-up plans for my will in hand. The Lord has a good plan for me. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." The way ahead is plain: I must first seek the Lord's will and follow His building plan. I stay awake to guard the city when God commands, and not when I think it best. Hoo, the metaphorical talk is falling thick today!

We have the Lord's good pleasure ahead for us, but we will have trouble reaching the party if we take off on our self-prophesied, self-improvement plan. Ouch, glad I don't have to attempt saying that out loud. A self-improvement plan is by nature a list of rules and regulations. If that is what we want, the Bible has plenty of those for us. Organizations of all sorts like to add more. Talking heads on the Internet and television can dump on many more. The Lord tells us, "Come to Me, all you who are heavy burdened, and I will give you rest."

Start the week out in Christ, and go easy on those self-imposed, self-righteous rule books.


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