Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"Deliver us from evil" - and let me set a good example

Most of us, even those who don't pray regularly, could whip out the Lord's prayer in a time of crisis. By the time we pray "Deliver us from evil" we might be on autopilot. David has a more passionate plea for divine intervention (Psalm 3:7) "Arise, O LORD! Deliver me, O my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked." His testimonial in Psalm 34 includes this advice "Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it...The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles."

The Psalms are filled with David's cries for God's intervention. It might seem that God was slow to respond. There is certainly a hint of desperation in such verses as 69:14 "Rescue me from the mire, do not let me sink; deliver me from those who hate me, from the deep waters." From my own experience, when I'm not plagued by challenges that leave me flailing I wander away from the Rock that is our salvation. Once I've get to feeling a little confident in my own abilities, I'm likely to overstep my bounds. In Proverbs 20:22 "Do not say, 'I'll pay you back for this wrong!' Wait for the LORD, and he will deliver you."

Why is this my topic for today? Contentment. Are you content with what you have? Do you trust God to provide for your needs? This past Sunday's readings included Philippians 4:11 "for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances". In Adult Sunday School we are studying Ecclesiastes, and in this week's lesson from 3:13 "that everyone may ... find satisfaction in all his toil - this is the gift of God." From this week's Bible Study (Priscilla Shirer's Can We Talk?) today's topic focused on financial contentment, concluding with "Am I content with what I have right now? What does my relationship with money teach my loved ones about contentment?"

We've been having regular discussions about budget and that is certainly healthy. Where I realize we are lacking is in discussing the emotional contentment found in trusting God to manage all of our needs. In this time of financial uncertainty, it seems we might be tempted to take control in areas where we can (government discussion around trillions of dollars are unimaginable). This might mean "over-disciplining" our children, or "teaching a lesson" to other drivers or ranting about a situation at work (or wherever).

It is important to remember that we must be content in all things. Someone cuts you off in traffic? So what? Be content to be behind them. When we rant about things, we are voicing discontent. I am seeing this in myself and realizing I'm setting the wrong example for my son. If I try to out-drive people, I'm modeling the wrong behavior. If I gripe about what I think *should* happen in this world, I'm not demonstrating contentment.

I pray that I can model spiritual contentment. Que sera, sera. Don't worry, be happy. And above all else...love.


Jeanette said...

When I find myself getting in that dark place of non-contenment, my purposeful action is to sing "Change my heart oh Lord, make it every true, Change my heart oh Lord make me be like you". It has a way of turning my head into the right direction.

you gotta wonder said...

Great suggestion! Thank you for sharing.