Saturday, May 2, 2009

Helping God?

I had a shock a few months ago. There was no one to blame but myself: I told the Lord I wanted nothing to stand between Him and me; I asked Him to purge me of anything in me that was displeasing to Him. I asked Him to search my heart and show me any sin I needed to confess and receive forgiveness for.

And He did.

I went off to the cottage at Aldersgate Camp in March and while it was a needed and fruitful visit, it was not my most favorite time alone with Him. He began to show me how I had committed the same sin over and over most of my life and never even saw it as sin.

Have you ever heard the saying “God helps those who help themselves?” That “scripture” is found in First Delusions 1:19. It actually came from Benjamin Franklin, not from God at all.

What I saw when God exposed my heart to me was that not only had I helped myself most of my life, I also had attempted to help God. Now that doesn’t sound so bad until you put it up against true wisdom like “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding”(Prov. 3:5) or “I will say of the Lord: He is my refuge and my fortress, my God; in Him will I trust.” (Psalm 91:2) And especially “Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, casting all your care on Him for He cares for you.” (I Peter 5:6)

Not only did the Lord show me how much I’d tried to help Him in the past during that week in the cottage, He has very faithfully shown me daily ever since then how much I’m still trying to help Him. It’s embarrassing.

You may try to help Him too.

If you are misunderstood and talked about, you may not wait for Him to clear up the situation but defend yourself to everyone around you instead of following Jesus “who when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judges righteously.” (I Peter 2:23)

When you have to speak to an audience or explain a situation, you may make notes and practice in front of a mirror instead of taking “no thought how or what thing you shall answer, or what you shall say: for the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what you ought to say.” (Luke 12:11,12)

You may fret and stew over your financial situation instead of following Jesus’ admonition to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt. 6:33)

When someone takes something that belongs to you, whether it’s a possession, a role in an organization, your reputation, or credit for something you did, you may believe it is the right thing to do to straighten out the situation instead of believing Jesus when He said “I say to you that you resist not evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” And you may not believe what Paul wrote when He quoted God “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath; for it is written ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” (Romans 12:19)

Ouch! Are there any among us who have never taken things into our own hands? Any of us who trust the Lord perfectly with the things that are dearest to us?

I go back to Aldersgate shortly to spend time alone with the Lord again. I hope He doesn’t have to show me that I’ve continued to do these things in the past two months. But in case I have, I am so pleased that my favorite scripture is true, “If you confess your sins, He is faithful and just to forgive your sin and cleanse you of all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9)

Want to pray with me?
Father, I come to you in Jesus Name, part of His Body in the earth. Thank you that you are purging us from all that is unpleasant to you, changing us from glory to glory by your Holy Spirit, as we look to Jesus. This day Lord, we choose to quit helping You with our lives, but instead we choose to make Jesus Lord over every detail of our lives. Help us to humble ourselves under your mighty hand so that you can exalt us in due time. Help us to look only to you as our Provider, Defender, Shepherd, Comforter, and Healer. So be it.