Day 176: June 25, 2014

Today's Reading(s)

Psalm 38
1 Lord, do not punish me in Your anger or discipline me in Your wrath. 2 For Your arrows have sunk into me, and Your hand has pressed down on me. 3 There is no health in my body because of Your indignation; there is no strength in my bones because of my sin.4 For my sins have flooded over my head; they are a burden too heavy for me to bear. 5 My wounds are foul and festering because of my foolishness. 6 I am bent over and brought low; all day long I go around in mourning. 7 For my loins are full of burning pain, and there is no health in my body. 8 I am faint and severely crushed; I groan because of the anguish of my heart. 9 Lord, my every desire is known to You; my sighing is not hidden from You. 10 My heart races, my strength leaves me, and even the light of my eyes has faded. 11 My loved ones and friends stand back from my affliction, and my relatives stand at a distance.12 Those who seek my life set traps, and those who want to harm me threaten to destroy me; they plot treachery all day long. 13 I am like a deaf person; I do not hear. I am like a speechless person who does not open his mouth. 14 I am like a man who does not hear and has no arguments in his mouth. 15 I put my hope in You, Lord; You will answer, Lord my God. 16 For I said, “Don’t let them rejoice over me—those who are arrogant toward me when I stumble.” 17 For I am about to fall, and my pain is constantly with me. 18 So I confess my guilt; I am anxious because of my sin. 19 But my enemies are vigorous and powerful; many hate me for no reason. 20 Those who repay evil for good attack me for pursuing good. 21 Lord, do not abandon me; my God, do not be far from me. 22 Hurry to help me, Lord, my Savior.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.



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Prayer of a Suffering Sinner
by Tiffany Evins, Member of Brentwood Baptist, Brentwood Campus

Be sure to click on the new video this week.

Have you ever suffered a huge consequence due to your sin? Have you ever done something that cost you a close relationship, a job, a position of leadership, or your reputation? In this Psalm, David cried out to God in grief over his sin. David’s sin was costly—costing him his health, peace of mind, strength, and even relationships with his loved ones and friends.

David describes the incredible burden of sin and the consequences of it in his life. The weight of sin is more than any one of us can bear. We are not able to even comprehend how far we miss the mark of perfection, and how desperately we need God (Ecclesiastes 7:20). However, due to the power of the cross, we are able to look at our sin and not despair.

Regardless of where you are in your relationship with God, there is always room to grow to be more like Christ. While this thought could easily overwhelm you, it doesn’t have to. God already knows every part of you (Psalm 139). He is not surprised by any of our faults or failures.

God longs for us to acknowledge our sins, so we can invite Him to take these burdens off our back (1 Peter 2:24). While it is good to rejoice in our ultimate salvation due to Jesus’ sacrifice, we are also commanded to confess our sins to one another (James 5:16). Even if we feel like we are decent people, we all struggle with sin in some form or another (1 John 1:8). How can we appreciate the beauty of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, if we do not acknowledge our own sin that placed Him there?  

I must confess that I seldom feel as grieved over my sin as David did in this Psalm. Most of the time, I think I am a pretty good person. I go to church, I try to be kind to everyone, and I even occasionally let someone go ahead of me in the grocery line. I like to think, “I’m not that sinful.” Yet, we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

Sin is a willful violation of God’s moral principles, but it is also any thought, attitude, or action that robs God of His glory. When I consider sin in this light, there are many areas that I can improve upon. If I am truly honest, there are some sinful habits and attitudes that I have accepted as a part of my culture, or have shrugged off as just a part of my personality.

For example, I can be gluttonous and enjoy more delicious food than I really need to. I can also have a gluttonous attitude by desiring to excessively enjoy things that are innately good (like entertainment, recreation, possessions). Even though enjoying nice meals, watching TV, or buying a new pair of shoes is not sinful, God might want to use some of the time and resources I spend in leisure to develop a greater hunger for His Kingdom and a heart for the needy.

By regularly confessing my sin to the Lord, I am acknowledging my ongoing need of Him in every aspect of my life. By inviting God to reveal sin in my life, I am opening myself to a more intimate relationship with Him. By recognizing my failure, I am giving Jesus permission to know and to love me in those not-so-perfect places, and to foster a greater desire to be like Him.

Praxis

  1. Is there a pressing sin in your life that you feel convicted about? Talk to Jesus about this sin. Remember that God already knows every part of you (Psalm 139), and nothing can separate you from His love (Romans 8:38). You do not have to hide from Him. Confess your shortcoming to the Jesus, and ask for His mercy and for His help (Hebrews 2:18).
  2. If no sin readily comes to mind, take a moment to prayerfully reflect upon the past 24 hours. Ask the Lord, “Lord, when was I partnering with Your work? Was there a time I resisted the work You want to do in the world or in me? Was I mindful of You in all my thoughts and actions? Is my heart continuously filled with gratitude at the blessings in my life? Reveal in me any thought, attitude, or action that is not in line with Your teaching.”
  3. In light of your shortcomings, praise God for welcoming you into relationship with Him. Joyfully thank Him for accepting you and loving you just the way that you are. Ask for a deeper desire to be more like Jesus in every aspect of your life.

About JourneyOn Today

Today's devotional series accompanies the Spiritual Practices Foundations Curriculum which deals with 24 different spiritual disciplines. We will break for an Advent series in December and continue the second half of Spiritual Practices during the first quarter of 2015.