Lead me in the way everlasting

Dear BPCWAians, We saw last week in Psalm 139, that when David desired to be led in God’s way he first acknowledged that God knew him through and through. So, the first lesson is that we cannot pretend before God else we cannot be led by God.   The place to start for growth in Christ is to realise that God knows fully what we are. And He thoroughly knows any impure motives for our actions even as they are remotely conceived in our thoughts. Secondly, in order for us to grow to new heights in God’s way, we must acknowledge that there is much we do not truly know about ourselves that God needs to show us. David cried to God to search him and know his heart, try him and know his thoughts and to see what are the wicked ways in him. Of course David knew that God knows his heart and thoughts already. This is a cry to ask God to reveal the wicked ways in him and then to lead him in the way everlasting. If we are not interested in what God already knows about us, then we will not be interested to walk in His ways. We will instead continue to be hypocritical and walk in our shallow ways. This week, we will see practical examples of progressing in God’s way.

Know our own hearts and thoughts.

(1) Service in church or to others. Know that God is watching and knows every impure stirring and motive. But like David, we must actively seek to know ourselves as God knows us. You can “help” others but God knows if it is to make yourself look holier, or look kind and loving compared to other people in church – “See, I am the one who goes out of the way to help you while others are so uninterested in you”. “I am so selfless to care for you, while others only care for their group of friends.” Part of the walking before God is serving. But you can offer to do this and that in church, yet the motive can be so that others will be impressed at what you do compared to others. God forbid that we should adopt the ways of the world by parading our service or abilities in front of others so that they know. By an intentional “slip of the tongue” or by your actions, you can show off your abilities which otherwise no one would have known. These are indeed normal everyday things that can indeed be unintentional and harmless, or may be so- designed to promote self. Only God knows, and only you know. And you go home and lie in bed nursing the thought of how well other people must be thinking about you. And like the Pharisees, you are thinking how bad others are as compared to what you have done outwardly. We must continue to do good to others. We must strive to serve God with all diligence and zeal, with all our strength. But let’s do it with pure motives. Remember, David willingly prepared for Solomon to build God’s Temple when God turned David down. He did not get upset or sulk or become jealous. Do you get angry when you are not asked to serve in a certain capacity or get bypassed in church for certain roles? Do you get jealous that someone else was asked instead of you? Well, if such emotions well up in you, know your heart and thoughts – they are sinful. Your motives are selfish.

(2) Choices in life. On the personal front, you can also say “In doing this I can serve God better” or “if I took this job, I can earn more, have more time to serve God on my off days”, but in reality, you are choosing what your heart wants while knowing it is a sinful path. It may sound holy to others. But if is a job that causes you to break God’s laws, you must not rationalise. Yes, we should use our material gains and resources to serve God. But if that job is not to be taken by a Christian, God is aware of your true selfish reason – to satisfy your own aims and desires. You can even get yourself into certain situations and then say that you cannot help it and no one understands. Some like to say, “I have no choice”. What the person is saying, if he is honest, is “Even God cannot help me, so I need to sin”.   Remember David says, “thou understandest my thoughts afar off” and “thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways”. This means God knows how we get ourselves into certain situations and yet try to explain away our behaviour. We overcommit on loans and let it lead in its “everlasting” ways – lifetime repayments that are beyond our means unless we disobey God. We overcommit on secular work or school activities or personal development programs and yet say, “I have no time”.

These are some real practical considerations we have to face up to. God knows, no matter how well you try to conceal the real reasons and excuses. He knows our character from our mother’s womb. Parents know their children’s ways well. They can see through pretensions when they cry, complain, and when they want to do something. But God knows your reins, the deepest inner parts hidden in you. The point is, there is no point pretending or rationalising. We fool no one but ourselves. God willing, we shall consider how we should respond instead when such wicked ways arise in us.

Yours in our Lord’s service