Friday, March 12, 2010

Power with God

I was praying today and just feeling weary in spirit. I was speaking the truth of Scripture to myself, reminding myself that God is my strength and my portion, that the joy of the Lord is my strength, that when I walk in the Spirit nothing can prevail against me, that we are not to become weary in doing good. No matter what I did I still felt weary and so I went before the Lord and pled my case, but I quickly found that my soul was distracted and passionless, I did not even desire to be close to the Lord. I prayed then that the Lord would give me a desire for himself. I got up from praying and next thing I knew I was online watching Guinness World Records on YouTube... Why is it that I struggle so to sit in prayer but find it so easy to be distracted by mindless things on the Internet?

Once again seeing my soul in a state that I did not desire it in, I put on some good Christian artists that I have in my iTunes. I know that it is not through my strength or power that my soul is humbled or revived or passionate for my Lord. It is only by his grace, through the faith that he places in me, and the humility brought by gazing upon His glory with the eyes that He has unveiled. However, I also know that he calls us to seek His face, that we can have confidence to approach His throne, that the prayer of a humbled sinner will not be ignored.

This is the background for what I actually wanted to say (yes I am longwinded and like to prologue what I'm going to say, ask Dana)

So as I was going through iTunes and making a playlist of Christian music that contains truth I came across a Spurgeon sermon called Power with God. I would highly recommend listening to it or reading the PDF. The sermon is on Genesis 32:28 which is in the passage where Jacob wrestles with God and it says " have struggled with God and with men and have overcome." Without giving the whole message (which is only 10 minutes, by the way, so its easy to listen to) basically Spurgeon touches on the fact that this power to overcome God could not come from Jacob. He then talks about how, Scripturally speaking, we can "overcome" God.

This is a topic not often talked about, especially in the Reformed circles that I often find myself in, but we see here that Jacob prevailed against God, in Exodus 32:14 the prayer of Moses apparently made God "change His mind", James says that "the prayer of a righteous man availeth much", in Luke 18 Jesus says we are to plead with God as a persistent widow before a judge. What we see over and over here is that WE CAN ACTUALLY HAVE POWER WITH GOD. There is actually reason to PLEAD with God. There is actually power for change in our words spoken to God, our earnest pleas.

But this power is not our own. This power does not come from us. Lest we think this, in Luke 18 Jesus follows up the parable of the widow with another parable for those who were "confident in their own righteousness". This parable was of a Pharisee and a tax collector praying in the temple, one pleading his own merits and the other recognizing his sin and Jesus says "I tell you that the sinner, rather than the Pharisee, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted"

So, all of this to say, at times we must wrestle with God. At times it is appropriate to question God and cry out to Him. It is right and good to ask God for things that He has withheld. But according to Scripture it would appear that there is a WAY to plead with God. I started out by saying that I was weary in spirit so I was speaking truth to myself and asking God to change my Linkheart, but it is appropriate at times to instead SPEAK TRUTH TO GOD AND ASK HIM TO CHANGE HOW HE IS ACTING.

For more thoughts on this whole topic check out this sermon by Tim Conway

Also check out this exegesis of Psalm 86.

May you prevail against the Almighty through the power of His Spirit and the grace bestowed upon you through the blood of His Son. May you know the truth and therefore be set free as you freely speak and plead your case before the throne of the Almighty in all humility, for when you are humbled then He will lift you up.

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