October 18

Spiritual Disciplines, Part 3

Micah 3:6a “For I am the LORD, I do not change.”

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

I Corinthians 3:5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God.

One of the great joys of keeping up with spiritual disciplines is that they help us to stay on course with God when the moods swing. Our feelings may come and go, ebb and flow. Yet, happily, we know that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He never changes, so our emotional ups and downs have no effect on His desire for us to come into His presence.

Once we put our sense of unworthiness to come to Him aside, the enemy has one more trick to pull on us—something that occurs when we start to come into His presence or begin a spiritual discipline. The Lord is holy, and beginning to connect with Him can shed a light on our unholiness. This can result in our shrinking back and pulling away from the Lord. Look at Isaiah’s reaction to seeing the Lord in His holiness:

Isaiah 6:5: So I said, “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”

We can become painfully aware of the insufficiency of our prayer life, or the fact that we indeed occasionally “ask amiss, that [we] may spend it on [our] pleasures” (James 4:3). Or we can realize that we don’t have pure love for the brethren when we think about going to church. Or we experience world-class levels of distraction when we sit down to read God’s Word.

The reality and the good news are as follows: One, we can never do anything with a completely pure heart. Our hearts will never be filled with nothing but love. Our heads will be distracted. Our theology may never be perfect.

But the great news is that Jesus is our sufficiency (see I Corinthians above). We know that we are not complete in ourselves, but Colossians 2:10 reminds us “we are complete in Him.” How freeing that is! What a wonderful reason to relax about spiritual disciplines, and just keep on presenting ourselves to Him—in prayer, in reading, in assembling together with the other saints.

When the enemy tells you that you are incomplete, just agree that in yourself, alone, he’s right. But in Christ, we are complete. Then stand on that!

Prayer: Father, forgive me for all the times I’ve let the enemy convince me of an unworthiness that You’ve already taken care of. Help me to know deeply that I am complete in You, and that You always want me to come to You. Thank You that Your invitation always remains open.


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