Ephesians 3:20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.
I have always taken a more conservative approach to my theology than many of my friends and colleagues. I believe it is because when I first came to Christ I believed everything that sounded ‘spiritual.’ Some of those early beliefs were off the wall. Spiritual visions and dreams were common in those days, and everything sounded so Godly and right. Of course, in time, I realized that you must test everything against the Scriptures, and to discern if it is from God. For many years I was skeptical of divine healing because so many people didn’t get healed after being prayed over for it, and they either died or lived with their disease. When that happened, we preachers always back-peddled with an answer that always seemed short of the mark in terms of explanation or sounded like we were giving excuses why God didn’t heal that person. Without getting in the weeds on this, let me just say where I am today.
First, I believe that God can do anything and everything. He doesn’t always do things according to what or how we pray. Prayer is about my concerns and needs, and God sees and hears those prayers according to His divine plan and wisdom for my life. I don’t always like that because I want what I want and I need what I need, and He should understand that according to me. It is like the story of the two men in Luke 18:9-14 who went to God in prayer. The one man went in bragging, letting God know he was bright, committed, and righteous, while the other man simply humbled himself and asked for mercy:
Luke 18:13 But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
Learning to stand before God with that kind of spirit is where I am today with the Lord. Nothing I have done with my life is anything more than His mercy being seen. I have nothing to claim as my own, and my theology is a desire to simply be surrendered to Him. In that surrender, it is up to God to answer my prayer requests in His way, His timing, and if my prayer isn’t answered, then I am to learn to trust, as Job said:
Job 13:15 God might kill me, but I have no other hope. I am going to argue my case with him.
My argument is simple, “God have mercy on me, a sinner.”
When God becomes more to me, He does it by helping me to believe in Him by faith so my trust in Him can never be shattered by my questions or doubt. He helps me to know that I am limited, but His ways are unlimited in every way. The only hindrance to anything He wants to do in me or through me, is me. I muddle up everything at times by my stubborn will or my biased theology taught by men. So much of what I have heard, learned, and even practiced, is all about me … not God. That is true with all of us if we really are honest about it. The best approach to finding, knowing, and practicing God’s ways is to first stand before Him and say, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
These are some lines from prayers I pray these days:
Have mercy on me as I live for you Lord
Change me so that I can see and hear you more clearly
Let me see less of me in my pursuit of You
Don’t let my arrogant ways be the image people see as I follow you
Let me be honest in my assessment of knowing you and press in even harder to know you more perfectly
I really do believe we have become arrogant and self-sufficient in our pursuit of God. It was what Jesus said to the seven churches in Revelation 2-3 that grabbed my heart in recent years and changed my perspective on who I am in light of who He is. My life is completely and totally dependent on Him, and that is how I want to live out the rest of my life. I no longer will try to justify, figure it out, or even give excuses for God when things don’t work out the way I feel they should. I will just say, “May God’s will be done.” This is the whole duty of man according to Solomon:
Ecclesiastes 12:13 That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty.
There it is. Simple, complete, and the final word for how we stand before God. Be merciful to me a sinner and allow my pursuit in life to be about fearing and obeying you.
Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler
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