Theme: A study in the tools God uses for lessons to mature His children.
Text: Psalms 25:4-5, (NIV)
"Show me your ways O Lord, teach me your paths, guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are my God , my Savior and my hope is in you all the day long."Introductory Remark,
These two verses form one of those prayers given to us in the Scriptures that God's people can pray and fully expect to be answered. Praying in accordance to the will of God will always bring an answer.
I John 5:14-15,
I think it's only fair though that I give a word of warning about praying this prayer of Psalms 25. From experience, I can tell you that God's answer to this kind of prayer will bring a spiritual confrontation, challenge and change in your Christian walk.
When God begins to teach us his ways, we will experience a shaking and reorganization of our foundation of biblical understanding as God begins to bring our theology into line with his. I want to forewarn you (if you haven't already experienced this yourself) that to have God shake your tree of religious theology can be a very scary experience.
I can guarantee with certainty that as this happens, you are going to find yourself constantly in his book, the Bible, with serious study and on your knees in prevailing prayer. I can also guarantee that this experience is going to be the most exciting, enlightening and enjoyable journey of faith building you will ever encounter.
When you pray this prayer buckle up your spiritual seat belt and get set for the ride of your life. God is going to take you places you have never been in the spirit and show you things you have never seen in the Word of God. The Word is going to come alive to you.
God is going to do for you what he did for the two disciples on the road to Emmaeus.He will open your eyes and understanding to spiritual truths of the Word of God.
In this teaching I want to share with you a few of the tools God uses to fulfill the prayer of Psalms 25, verses 4 and 5 as we ask God to make it real in our life.
The Grace of God is one of the tools God uses.
Titus 2:11-12, "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men; teaching us that denying all ungodliness and worldly lusts we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world...."
The Weymouth New Testament translates "teaching us" as "training us."
The New American Standard Version renders it as, "instructing us"
It's very important for us to understand that grace does not give us the liberty to do things our way, but it comes into our lives to instruct us in how to do things God's way. Now I don't want to saddle you with a long explanation of the ins and outs of the doctrine of grace. I just want to make a point for grace coming into our lives and one of the things that grace does
After we go through life for awhile, the effects of the "spirit of the age" begins to work on us and dulls the cutting edge of the conscience by introducing a new standard for conscience to judge by. All of a sudden, we don't feel as convicted about certain things as we once did.
Let me give you an example from my own life as to how this works:
Now today something like that sounds humorous. The mind set of the church today is not the same mind set of the church at that time period. Many things that the church of that day considered off limits is now allowed in the church of today.
There is some good in this new mind set and also some negative aspects to be found. It all depends upon whether the things we now allow ourselves to do is forbidden by man's rules of "no-no" or God's written Word.
To me, as a young Christian, I really felt what I was doing was wrong. When I went to the movie I was sinning against my own conscience for I was going against the standard of right and wrong that had been established in my mind by my denomination.
Something like this can so easily happen to any of us. We step over the edge into something that to us is wrong and we soon discover that if we do it enough it doesn't bother us anymore when we do it. Our conscience has become dulled.
The true standard for the conscience is God's standard of right and wrong. When grace comes into our life, the Spirit of God begins to hone the cutting edge of our conscience and gives to us a new standard of right and wrong for the conscience to judge our moral acts by. This new standard is based upon the Word of God. All of a sudden, even without anybody telling us, we know that certain things we were doing we can't do anymore. And we know that there are things that we should be doing that we have never done before. God's grace introduces the Holy Spirit's convicting presence and ministry into our life which teaches us, instructs us and trains us to live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world.
May I, at this point, make a case for the Holy Spirit's work in us when grace comes to us? Can we not, please, trust the Holy Spirit to deal with new believers to hone their conscience when they come to Jesus and not try to do it ourselves? So many times, in our eagerness to give directions to young converts, we try to do the Holy Spirit's work of conviction for him. When we do, we usually get in the way of what he is doing and we do more damage than good.
Remember, it's God's standard of right and wrong that he wants the conscience to judge by---not our standard.