Deliver Us from Evil

October 14, 2010 at 9:03 am | Posted in Devotional thoughts, Security and Assurance | 5 Comments

          A man came into my office the other day and told me a long story of how he had been overcommitted and stressed for a long time; how everything he’d done had been from a sense of pride that he could do it all; how in the midst of the stress, he started making some very stupid decisions.  He spent a few months living a sinful and selfish lifestyle, and, as a result of his foolishness, lost his career, his home, his savings, his wife and his children.  He is a broken man who has been beating himself up over guilt for many months now.  I tried to encourage him with reminders of God’s complete forgiveness and unconditional love, with talk of God’s amazing grace, with the thought that he can now experience that grace at a different level than ever before.  Before he left my office, I prayed for him.  I prayed that he would see and sense God’s love and grace, that he would again walk and fellowship in God’s grace, and that God would break through his guilt.

          There are two thoughts to pass along.  First, often the hardest part of forgiveness is not forgiving someone who has wronged us, rather it’s forgiving ourselves when we live lives of hypocrisy.  But God’s forgiveness is vast and complete.  I have often commented on these pages about the completeness of that forgiveness.  Those who trust in Jesus are eternally forgiven; sins past, present and future are wiped clean from our record.  People often ask me, when I make a comment like that, how our future sins could be forgiven already.  Well God could offer no assurance of salvation if our future sins are not already forgiven.  Yet the Bible gives full assurance that we will be saved and that we are already forgiven.  Besides, all of your sin was future when Jesus died for it!  For more of my thoughts on this, with relevant scripture passages, check out some of the articles under the Security and Assurance category heading.

          The other thought that struck me was how all of us are susceptible to grievous sin.  Anybody who knew this man two years before the story he told me began would never have believed he could make the foolish decisions he made.  In fact, they would be shocked at what he did.  That means that I, even as a church pastor, am not above falling into the same trap.  I was reminded that I must keep myself clear of undo, self-inflicted stress, doing too much for the sake of my own pride; that I must take the sabbath rests God prescribes in his word; that I must focus on my daily relationship with God, humbly coming to him for guidance and strength; that I must never take my wife and daughter for granted but daily thank God for the gifts they are.  Ironically, as soon as I think I’m better than he is because I have never fallen like that, I am guilty of the same pride that brought him down.  The old saying sure applies here, “But for the grace of God, there go I.”  Thank God for grace!

The morning after listening to this man’s story, I read the following prayer in Psalm 141“O LORD, I call upon You; hasten to me!  Give ear to my voice when I call to You!  . . .  Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.  Do not incline my heart to any evil thing, to practice deeds of wickedness with men who do iniquity; and do not let me eat of their delicacies.”  I often have to pray the same thoughts David prayed in this great poem.  O Lord, deliver us from evil!

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  1. This post blessed me. As I read it I noticed that you mentioned the subject of “sabbath rests as described in God’s word.” Do you believe that they must take place on Sundays? I am asking this question, because I have been happily married to the same Christian man for over 23 years now, and up until recently, he has for the most part worked on Sundays and attended church on Sunday nights. He is legally blind, and for the sake of job security has always felt that he must accept work schedules that completely sighted people refuse to work.

    We are currently visiting a church that is of the “reformed faith”. They have been very kind to us and have welcomed us to worship with them until we can either find a new Baptist church or until the Lord directs us somewhere else. This particular church denomination teaches that Jesus came to not just fulfill but to also establish the law. I asked them what they thought about Romans 14:5-8. I was kind of hoping that this text might offer believers a little freedom, but I got the feeling that they didn’t exactly agree with that idea.

    I would appreciate your thoughts on this matter. I don’t know why, but Sundays are often the most stressful day of the week. If that is truly a special day set apart, I know that many Christians who faithfully attend morning and evening services are somehow in spite of their best intentions, failing to enter into the rest the Lord has promised us.

  2. Theresa, Thanks for your encouraging comments and questions. I will try to address the issue real soon. However, ironically enough, I don’t have time today! Hopefully next week.
    GG

  3. I haven’t been able to address the Sabbath issue, but here is a link to a message I gave about that very thing a few years ago. Maybe this will help:

    http://podcast.village-baptist.org//index.php?id=11

    GG

  4. I listened and was encouraged to hear what you said. I share those convictions. I think I will listen again with my husband.

    We still are faced with the dilemma about assembling. I am thinking about Hebrews 10:25. Basically we are a Christian family that loves the Lord and loves the family of God. I sometimes long to be grafted into a body of believers, but I have so many times in my life been browbeaten into taking on the role of a “Martha” when my heart’s desire was and still is to be sitting at the Lord’s feet. I have lived in the same little town in Arkansas for over 30 years, and feel “stuck”. You said something about taking time to find your purpose and the courage to pursue it when others do not understand.

    I am very much looking forward to reading whatever you have to share. Thank you so much.

  5. Thanks for reading. May God bless you with his peace and rest and with his sense of eternal purpose.
    GG


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