Saturday, January 03, 2009

Day 3- Working on our Attitudes

1 Thessalonians 5.13-24

Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers,
warn those who are idle,
encourage the timid,
help the weak,
be patient with everyone.
make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong,
But always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.
Be joyful always;
Pray continually;
give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
Do not put out the Spirit's fire;
do not treat prophecies with contempt,
test everything.
Hold on to the good.
Avoid every kind of evil.

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May you whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.

It is almost certain that as we seek the Lord we find that our own heart becomes more and more clear to us. Where once we excused certain behaviors- now in the light of his presence- we see our motivations clearly. We find ourselves agreeing with the prophet Jeremiah: Our hearts are deceitfully wicked- beyond cure. This tendency to exempt ourselves from the exhortations and commands of God's Word is evidence that our rebellion runs deeper than we had imagined.

Attitudes toward others
We fool ourselves into thinking that we are too busy to help the weak, or to pressed to be patient, or too busy to warn those idle (lazy) brothers. We excuse our hunger for vengeance, we pick our times for joy when it suits us rather than living out the joy of a heart redeemed. We are ungrateful and thankless more often than not, and so we miss the will of god for our lives.

Attitudes toward God and his Word
We are uncomfortable with the fire of God as it burns and quench it so that it doesn't hinder our fleshly delights. (We do this by our attitudes toward the leading of the pastoral leadership, or by demanding that service be over by noon, or by limiting our response in worship [I will not raise my hands!])We hold those moved by the Spirit in words of prophetic inspiration in contempt because "who are they to challenge me with the truth of the Word?!". (As if the Word is less accurate because it comes through a flawed vessel. Well, the reality is that all vessels are flawed- including the ones that hear the word!) We miss out on the good because we fail in the area of discernment. And we end up embracing evil rather than cleaving to the good that is there.

What our prayer is to be is God's presence. He himself is the only one who can "sanctify us through and through." Our time before him offers him that opportunity- to iron out the wrinkles, to straighten out the bent places in our spirit, to make us holy.

So Lord, hear our prayer. Make your church holy, heal our attitudes. We know that you" the Lord search the heart and examine the mind to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve" (Jer 17.10). Please heal us Lord, according to your will. Amen.

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