You have declared today that the Lord is your God, and that you will walk in His ways, and keep His statutes and His commandments and His rules, and will obey His voice.

Deuteronomy 26: 17

 

People often reach decisions about the way that we are going to think and live. Yet, many of those decisions seem to fall by the wayside as the day continues. So, it seems that we often need to actually say what it is that we intend to think and do. Like Moses says, we need to declare it or as it is stated in another translation we need to affirm our commitment. To me there is a sense of force and openness in this idea of declaration, too. This isn’t quietly sitting alone in our house and whispering the words. This is going boldly into the day with God’s righteousness on our lips and His will guiding our hands.

 

This idea involves the complete acceptance of all that God is and of everything that He instructs us to be and to do. God wants for us to engage life with no hesitancy or fear. He calls upon us to actively seek out His desire for our day, and, in turn, the Lord promises that He will respond to our seeking. Just as Christ was all-in with us, He asks us to give all to Him. Yet, it is in this total surrender of self and open hearted yielding to God that true living is found. When we closely follow all that God has set out for us in His Word and through His Spirit, we gain a form of freedom that is impossible to find elsewhere. Peace and contentment and soul-deep joy reside in the place that is defined by God’s expressed will.

 

It does seem that I need to continue to make this declaration. This act of purposefully speaking my orientation to Christ does help me to maintain my clear focus on seeking God’s voice and to listening until He answers. Reading God’s Word and prayer and joining in life with God’s community of faith are important aspects of this daily act of declaration. Christ lived on earth in total submission to the Father. God calls upon us to do the same so that our lives will be a living affirmation of the glory of the Living God.

I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people.

1 Timothy 2: 1

 

Paul sets forth an interesting thought here, for he tells us that we should be engaging in prayerful worship with God that involves a very broad list of people, for “all” is about as inclusive as that group could get. When I am considering a time of prayer, my tendency is to talk with God about my family members, my friends, the people that I might be aware of in other settings that are usually related to these same people, and sometimes national and international leaders. This is a fairly large yet manageable list. Yet, this is only the start of what Paul is saying that we should be doing.

 

This list of prayer forms is also really comprehensive. It is a lot bigger than just the simple, “Thank you for my family” or “Please heal my cousin’s dermatitis”. These are both fine, for they are included in the list; however, take a close look at what is being said. We are being told to engage prayer in a total and comprehensive manner. It is to be done on our knees and standing and shouting praises, framed in humility, seeking God’s intervention and involvement in other people’s lives, grateful and remindful of all that God does for us and for all people. Prayer is passionate, constant, a special event, and an every moment necessity. It is to be engaged in the morning, in the middle of the day, at night, and at every time between, and we are to pray about and for everyone.

 

This last thought is perhaps the most amazing and profound thought to me. I think that the point here is that if I embrace this idea and make it my practice, God will begin to cause a very powerful change in my attitudes toward others. He will redirect my thinking and the attitude of my heart toward many others so that I will begin to see them more like He does. The group that I am instructed to pray for includes people that I don’t like, those that don’t seem to like me, leaders of government, especially leaders who I believe are wrong or who are wrongly motivated, the person at work whose habits infuriate me, the neighbor whose dog is noisy, the person who has profoundly wronged or hurt me, and everyone who I struggle to understand or to relate to.

 

Christ sees the world and the people in it quite differently from the way that I do. He sees the beautiful potential, the perfect child that He created, and the deep sadness and the chaos that is the result of people’s separation from Him. Our Lord sees all people with eyes of love and compassion, and He seeks to be granted the opportunity to graciously redeem everyone from their lost state. Thus, He directs us to put on His attitude, to see the people of this world as He does, and to become active agents for redemption. Christ directs His people to engage and to energize His calling to us in constant and comprehensive prayer.

 

O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent?

Who shall dwell on your holy hill?

He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart.

Psalm 15: 1, 2

It may not always seem so apparent, but we all get to make daily choices about where we go, how we get there, and the way that we act while we are on this journey. Although we may need to head out of our homes and go to the same workplace, same school, and the routine stops that populate our lives, it is our own, individual choices that truly define the quality and the nature of the living that we transact during the day. We not only are allowed to make these choices, but we need to make them. It is these choices that create the environment that will direct the way that our mind handles everything that we encounter.

The Lord makes His word and its infinite truth available to us. He even speaks it directly to our hearts by His Spirit; yet, we are the ones who can decide to listen, and we determine the ways of our actions. Now, I’ll admit that there are days when I really don’t want to make the choice that includes seeking God’s perspective and wrapping myself in a warm and protective blanket of truth and love. There are days when I find some sort of perverse pleasure in being sad, lonely, and distant. These are days when I want the false freedom of being able to act badly toward others or to hold onto a diminished concept of my own value and worth. Yet, these moments and days are ones where I am choosing to operate in a reality that is created out of the deception that Satan continually attempts to use in order to distract me from God’s will and to disable me from my calling as Christ’s living witness. These are times of choosing to live in a cardboard hut made of lies and wrapped in failure that sits at the side of evil’s garbage dump. These are days when I could be living in the splendor of Christ’s richly furnished and palatial tent that is anchored at the top of His holy mountain.

This is my daily choice, and it is yours, as well. In making this decision to put on God’s truth, we are establishing the way that we want to travel through the day. This decision creates the attitudes that our mind will use to frame our responses to everything that transpires. Now is the moment to seek God’s righteousness and His truth so that the rest of this day can be viewed from the perspective of the same window that God uses to view His world.