Friday, October 29, 2010

To Live is Christ — waiting . . .

They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength . . .”  a song and part of a verse from Isaiah that God proves to me repeatedly. Sometimes it is not sleep that I need, but to spend some time waiting.

Yesterday was a superb day. I woke up too early, couldn’t go back to sleep, so had a bath and got dressed. Then I waited on the Lord, that is, I spent time in prayer. I complained for a while. Then I confessed my complaining. I also talked to Him about the struggles I’d been having. I told Him that I thought the devil was after me and needed some fighting words.

He gave them to me. I prayed them loudly back to Him. After some thanksgiving and even a song, the only less than blissful event during the remainder of the day was a recorded call from a telemarketer.

My verses for today come from the old King James Bible, the one that I read for many years after Christ came into my life. These are precious words too, and an appropriate follow-up to yesterday.

Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. (Psalm 24:3–5)
Jerusalem is situated on a hill. When the people came to the temple, they ascended that hill and worshiped in the temple, the holy place of God. This was not a place for sin-filled hearts. God instructed them to make sure they had confessed their sin and made the proper sacrifices before they went to worship.

I cannot worship or even function if there is unconfessed sin in my life. While I’m not out robbing banks or slashing tires, sin still can make me unable to ascend the hill into God’s presence. They might seem “little” like whining (as mentioned already), or failing to trust God or believe in His goodness. I can lose heart over imagined slights. I can also take on a load that is not mine, or keep myself from obedience by doing “busy work.”

These may not seem like sins to other people. Nevertheless, God knows — and I know too — when some sin dirties my hands or muddies my heart. Vain activities might be ordinary events for others, but if God wants me doing something else, for me they are sinful. This includes watching television, playing computer games, or spending too much time on Facebook.

The last one is more blatant; swearing deceitfully. This sin is about making promises known to be false, or taking an oath that is not based on truth. I’ve never been good at telling lies, so this one is less of a temptation.

The bottom line is that I want to be able to stand in the presence of God with my sins confessed. I want a pure heart. As Jesus said, the pure in heart shall see God. These verses say that those who keep their lives clean will receive His blessing and His righteousness. That is what waiting on the Lord is all about — and His grace is definitely worth the wait.

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