After 33 years of being a Christian, I’m learning that many of my godly acts and thoughts are accompanied by a corresponding danger of imbalance or deception. That means that when I’m pursuing obedience in one way, I may also be pursuing idolatry in another.
Because I’m tempted to rest in my own righteousness before God, even after conversion, I consistently look for ways to restrict God’s commands, commend my own performance, or trade one virtue for another. I’ve found this prayer from The Valley of Vision particularly helpful in helping me to discern my self-atoning tendencies. I’ve divided it into three categories:
Using Truth Rightly
My I never fail to come to the knowledge of the truth,
Never rest in a system of doctrine, however scriptural,
That does not bring or further salvation,
Or teach me to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts,
Or help me to live soberly, righteously, godly;
Relying on Grace
Never rely on my own convictions and resolutions,
But be strong in you and in your might;
Never cease to find your grace sufficient
In all my duties, trials, and conflicts;
Never forget to repair to you
In all my spiritual distresses and outward troubles,
In all the dissatisfactions experienced in creature comforts;
Never fail to retreat to him who is full of grace and truth,
The friend that loves at all times,
Who is touched with feelings of my infirmities,
And can do exceeding abundantly for me;
Worship as Life
Never confine my religion to extraordinary occasions,
But acknowledge you in all my ways;
Never limit my devotions to particular seasons
But be in your fear all the day long;
Never be godly only on the Sabbath or in your house,
But on every day abroad and at home;
Never make piety a dress but a habit,
Not only a habit but a nature,
Not only a nature but a life.
(From The Valley of Vision, pg. 64)
May we pursue a relationship with God that is only possible through constant dependence on the merits, obedience, and satisfying death of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Thanks, Bob, for pointing me to His finished work on my behalf. I will pass this on to my dear friend, Jerry Bridges – who will find this entry quite uplifting.
BOB……THANK YOU FOR BRINGING FORWARD,FOR US, WORDS FOE REAL LIFE….AND HOPEFULLY GROWTH IN OUR LORD……..