Thursday, October 14, 2010

Eager For Your Decrees

Why is it so hard to read the Bible? Why is it that I can pick it up at times and read a few paragraphs and it is literally dripping with relevance and practicalities, and at other times, it may as well be written in German? And why is it that I am drawn into it one day, and the next day I lay it down and don’t think about it again for days or even weeks?

About seven years ago, I began a journey I will never forget. I began to ask God to take me to a deeper place with him. I was bored stiff with my brand of Christianity. But, I had to do my Christian “stuff,” like read the Bible, pray, serve in the church, and, and, and…. What happened next was not what I asked for, what I wanted, or what I ever expected. God began to peel away everything that I was clinging to that wasn’t him. All the “security” I had financially, all the abilities and opportunities I had in business, all the pride I had placed in my own skills…gone. I heard a friend say it this way: “When we ask God to transform (remodel) us, we’re thinking a new coat of paint and some fresh carpet, and He’s pulling into our lives with a wrecking ball and a bulldozer.” He doesn’t even want the soil on which are lives are built to remain. He wants to be our foundation, the bedrock upon which we stand.

Now I’d like to say that I humbly accepted my plight. I can’t. I raged against God. I would grab my Bible and head for the woods to wrestle with him. I would read his promises—strike that—I would scream his promises at him, and dare him to reconcile his promises with my reality. I had a two year tantrum— month after month of going to the woods to have it out with God. The funny thing was, every time I left the woods, I was quiet. Things weren’t fixed, but I was still. I was learning about his peace.

In this time, I discovered something new in Psalm 119. The Psalmist, all throughout the passage, was asking God to give him desire, understanding, knowledge of his Word, his Law, his Precepts. I thought, “I can do that.” So I began to pray to God using Psalm 119.36-37. This became the outline of my prayers that I still often use today to keep me focused. It sounded a lot like this.

Give me an eagerness for your decrees. Do not inflict me with a love for money! Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word.

God, give me a desire for you. I really want to love your Word, but I confess I don’t. Help me to want to be in your Scriptures, not because I’m supposed to be, but because I love you, and I can’t wait to see what you have to say to me today. Please don’t let a love for money become the driving force behind my actions. Forgive me for seeing you only as a provider of things rather than a person who wants intimacy with me. Oh God, please turn my attention away from things that are worthless to you. I have become fixated on many things that you are not pleased with. Please draw my passion to the things that you are passionate about. Make your desires mine.

Through this, I’ve learned that it isn’t about how much we can know about the Bible that helps us in this life; it’s about how well we know the author. He is the gift. My prayer for you as you ask God for the passion to love his Word is that you will be caught by surprise by your desire for him, that it will consume you and turn you into the Spirit-filled person you were meant to be. Enjoy him.

This week’s author—Doug Bishop, small group area director

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