Journal Ps 16 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Therefore, my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.”
Observation: There are many statements describing steadfastness in the Scriptures. This one is very clear…
Analysis: A bug-a-boo of mine is to keep reminding myself of one of the key tenets of the Faith—the one of Persevering to the End.
Pressing into the Faith (as a concept) is difficult to wrap my mind around, because I know that the task of perseverance fails in me constantly. Yet, I am called, commanded to just that: persevere.
What does perseverance look like in my mind? It is determined by just what the Psalmist says: “I have set the Lord ALWAYS before me…”
What I have to wrap my mind around is that God is not calling me to live a “holier than thou”, pharisaical sort of life, He expects me to live in this community, doing the things I need to do, with the vision and FIRM INTENT of pleasing Him always with a SURRENDERED life.
It starts with talking to the face in the mirror about what He says in His Word: what are His instructions to change my life into something that resembles what God wants my life to look like? Then, after recognizing those things, align with the Holy Spirit to put effort into the task of Sanctification.
There are two instruments in everybody’s life that inhibit this kind of change: Indwelling Sin (that part of my residual Sin that hasn’t been rooted out and put to death) and the enemy. Of the two, Indwelling Sin is the most important to address first.
Note: I don’t pay much attention to the enemy. Reason: At the End of Days, I will not be able to lay any excuse involving the mention of the enemy at the foot of the Throne and have it taken seriously as a mitigating factor in the review of my life. Indwelling Sin is more damaging to my daily pursuit of God.
The pursuit of God isn’t a Conference away from attaining, it is understanding that this is a lifetime effort. Example: As a younger man, I was tempted to the flesh, and many times I gave into that temptation. A lot of folks would say that was understandable because I was young. Now I am old, and I have those same temptations—what gives? Aren’t I supposed to “grow out of those things?”
No, none of us ever “grow out” of the temptation of Sin. It will always be a fight until my last breath.
How did I start down this path? Maybe the only thing I did right in the beginning was to say, “I this (Christianity) is real, then I am going to throw myself into it with everything I have”… and then subsequently failed within an hour of that statement. What I did learn first is the function and value of confession and repentance.
I learned that confession and repentance, done over and over again, is faithfulness in action. I am UNABLE to keep my word in my own power—indwelling sin is too powerful. However, the power of the Holy Spirit sustains and empowers me to keep going down the path of righteousness no matter how often I stumble.
Another thing I must remember is gratefulness to God for EVERYTHING that happens, that I run across. “…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the WILL of God in Christ Jesus for you…” (1 Thes 5:18) That means being cut off in line or in the road, my desires crushed, losing my work on the computer, etc. If MY WILL is being thwarted, then it is GOD’S WILL for me that is being accomplished and I should exhibit thankfulness for that. Check out Job 1-3 for confirmation of that.
At perseverance most basic, it is waking every morning and while putting my feet on the floor, praying out loud, “Today, I see You and I want to serve you, follow you, please you every moment of this day, O Lord. Holy Spirit, help me to do just that.”
Prayer: So many scriptures come to mind on this subject, Father, and at the same time not enough. Following you takes effort, moment by moment effort. Allow me to imitate your character O Lord Jesus—all the things I read in your Word.
I am grateful for this forum. Please use it to assist someone on the Path.