But for you, O LORD, do I wait;

it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.

For I said, “Only let them not rejoice over me,

who boast against me when my foot slips!”

Psalm 38: 15, 16

 

There are a couple of the really big aspects of David’s life on display in these few words. Firstly, he knew God, and also, he had some big experience in the area of foot slipping. David was well aware of the harm to his relationship with God that his disobedience and sinful passions had caused. He was also far too aware of the damage to his ability to lead as a Godly ruler and as a servant of the Lord that these sins had caused. His failures gave ammunition to his enemies and to those people who opposed the Lord. There is one simple answer to this problem for all of us, don’t sin. However, that answer doesn’t work so well for most of us.

 

Personally, I would like to blame God for any and all of my sinful departures from His will and way, for God is the designer and the maker of the drive, passions, and independence that leads to most of my wandering days. However, I know that the sinfulness of my heart is not the part of me that God designed. So, in response to the rebellion of the soul that my human ancestors grafted into the make up of all people, God provided His son, Jesus Christ, to me and to all of humanity as our answer to and our salvation from the death that sin assures. We need only to accept that answer in order to enter into a relationship with Christ that brings about transformation of the heart and the mind and the peace of security for our souls.

 

As each of us enters into the unfortunate inevitability of sin in our lives, we need to turn to Christ in repentance and confession of our sin. Then we can wait and listen to the voice of truth and righteousness as our Lord speaks to our hearts and guides our minds into His path of restoration and holiness. Sometimes that voice is loud and persistent and clearly direct, and at other times it seems to be silent as it forces us to wait and to listen so that our faith is stretched and our ability to hear is made deeper and strengthened within us. It is my faith in God that assures me of his answers even before they have become audible to my ears. It is my trust in God’s purpose and plans that leads me to rest in Him so that I allow my Lord to be my defender and my protector in this journey through the hostile land where I dwell.

 

Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you. And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him.

Luke 8: 39

 

This was a very unusual situation. The man from the area of the little town of Gadara on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee had been healed from the horrible oppression of demons. He was free, he had his life back, and he had a new purpose for that life. This man wanted to pursue one course, that of following along with Jesus, but Jesus sent him off onto another path. He was sent back to his home, that is to the place where his family and he were resident. This would include his immediate family, his village community, and those who lived in the region around the village. These were people who had expressed great fear and concern over the power of this strange Jewish teacher, Jesus.

 

So, the healed man is sent back to his family, friends, neighbors, and others in their broader sphere of contact. Jesus instructs him to tell these people about the great and wondrous things that God has done for him. He is to tell the story of the miraculous and transformative work that Christ has accomplished in him, and he was to declare to all the salvation from a life of slavery that comes through this same Jesus. This was no easy task in light of the negativity and even hostility that his community and his culture were likely to express toward this message of hope and peace that comes from acceptance of Christ as Savior and Lord. Yet, sharing this good news was the man’s new life calling and his commission from God.

 

So, I wonder, how much different is my calling from that of this man? I don’t have the drama that surrounded the expulsion of the demon, but Christ has claimed my life out of sin’s slavery and death. He has given me freedom, peace, and purpose for this life that I have in and through Christ. All of this would seem worthy of much more than just mention in my home, around my neighborhood, and throughout my community. It also seems to me that this message of Christ’s work in me is not limited to a singular time and event. The Lord continues to do His work in and on me, and this ongoing story of transformation and growth is a significant part of the story that I have to tell. So, like that man from Gadara, I too am sent by Christ to declare how much God is doing for me.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

John 10: 10

 

There is an old cultural expression. It is one that is not used all that much any more, and it goes, “This is living!” Yet it was almost never applied to anything that had all that much to do with true life. This exclamation of pure joy at life was typically used to refer to desirable or aspirational aspects of life such as cars, vacations, and houses. There is nothing wrong with any of these things; yet, they do not bring life. In fact, these sorts of things, when they become the center of our focus and when seeking them forms our primary motivation for each day of life, can become dangerous distractions away from God’s purpose for us. Even more disturbing is the fact that anything that turns us from God and His will tends to cause people to make themselves the center of their own universe.

 

For many of us, it is fairly easy to say, “Yes” to this idea, and we do this as we feel good about the fact that we have mostly left those days and that manner of thinking behind us. It is relegated to a phase in our personal history that might be known as the Time of Maturing. Yet, almost everyone continues to struggle with making choices about the way that we think and the things that we do that profoundly impact our personal life-death balance sheets. All people who live in this world are dwelling in a place where good and evil spiritual forces are engaged in a constant struggle for control and for dominance. Everyone who seeks to follow Christ is not just living in this place, but we have chosen to live here with a large target on our backs. Our minds and our hearts will be assaulted and assailed in an unending attempt to pull us away from Christ and His purpose for us.

 

However, God does not leave us alone in this struggle. He calls us to Himself first so that we can get to know our Lord and Savior in an ever deepening and intimate manner. As we know Him, God gifts His people with understanding, wisdom, strength, and discernment so that we can face our daily struggles with a peaceful mind and a fearless heart. As we seek Him and meditate on His word, God speaks into us and provides us with the ability to make choices between those endeavors that will lead us toward the abundant life that He desires for us to live and those other options that we have which would deplete and discourage us. We are all gifted and called by God into service to Him. No one can do everything; in fact, that is exactly what God does not want. Instead, as we submit our will to Him, Christ will lead us into life.