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20 October 2008

For the Sake of Your Reputation

I haven't forgotten about the rest of the church slogans. More coming up. I'll also be following up on the Agnosticism and the Church post soon. Greatly appreciate the comments there; I wish that there were more who were willing to get involved in that sort of thing. But on to today's post...

For the sake of your reputation, Lord, do not abandon us.
    Do not disgrace your own glorious throne.
Please remember us,
    and do not break your covenant with us.
- Jeremiah 14:21 (NLT) [emphasis mine]

I've found that this is a really difficult type of prayer to pray with a genuine heart. Most of the time, I think, our prayers asking for good stuff to happen are mostly centered in the fact that we want to experience good stuff -- not because we want to see God's fame increased.

Or maybe I'm just speaking from my own perspective and you've never had this problem.

Taking the correct perspective on this has been eye-opening for me, focusing on my real intentions and forcing me to change my thoughts and motives sometimes. "Lord, please give me the money to get that new plasma TV. Err... so that You will be glorified among the nations forevermore, amen." That kind of prayer doesn't get said anymore (not that I've ever prayed anything quite like that). I think that we'll find that, when we're focused on making the whole of our lives revolve around Jesus Christ, we will be unable to deeply desire "stuff" for ourselves.


Anonymous said...

I agree that at least I find that my prayers are the same...focused on good things happening. What I need to be praying is for God to use me put others in my path to witness to and to show God's love. But, that wouldn't always be too happy for us or easy going. We (I'd) have to step from my comfort zone too much. Imagine having to lean on God for support! (I am being a little facetious here in case others can't tell.)

So, Dean, how can a person focus prayers from self desires (not the plasma TV kind :) to God desires? Not trying to poke at you, but seriously asking for follow up... Bible references, etc.


Dean Lusk said...

I didn't take that as a poke of any kind. :)

Psalm 37:4 (NLT) says:
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you your heart’s desires.

That one's pretty direct -- our change of attitude is a thing that we have to be willing to make, and not to expect God to zap us and change our minds and our actions if we're not willing to give ourselves completely to Him. As we do that, He will change the desires of our heart and enable us to be able to truly want to see Him glorified above our desires.

Romans 12:2 (NLT again) says this (and I know you already know it):
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

One translation or paraphrase says, "Let God remold your mind from within."

A resolute heart is called for in following Christ, and that's not an easy thing, particularly in a country where we have so much stuff, and we're not used to having to do without. To put Him before the things that we want seems counter to the American dream.

That seems like it's out of left field, but it isn't. Our mindset must be on everything that is about Christ before it's about us and what makes us happy.

I'm not sure if that helps. If I can be more specific, fire away...

Anonymous said...

Thanks Dean. I'll work through some of these and let you know if I need more specific stuff. I have really begun to see the overindulgence of most Americans by living away from it. People in Lithuania and elsewhere in the former Soviet countries usually only buy what is needed right then. They even wait to buy something until there is money...imagine that! They are proud of what they have, but not always demanding more to be happy (there are always exceptions). Most are happy being with friends and hanging out. As Christians, we need to be happy "hanging out" with God.


Dean Lusk said...

I was reading Psalm 88 today. In spite of the psalmist's depression and hopelessness, he appealed to God to restore him for the sake of God's glory:

Can those in the grave declare your unfailing love?
Can they proclaim your faithfulness in the place of destruction?
Can the darkness speak of your wonderful deeds?
Can anyone in the land of forgetfulness talk about your righteousness?
O Lord, I cry out to you.
I will keep on pleading day by day.
- Psalm 88:11-13

He's basically saying here, "If I die, I can't tell anyone about your greatness." He found it good to pray to God on those grounds. Interesting.

Christy said...

I prayed those exact verses when I was in the pit! I completely understand where the psalmist was coming from in praying that way!

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