Saturday, March 24, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 24

Prayers of Confession continued...

A prayer of confession can be likened to looking into a mirror, and acknowledging what we see there. If we look into a mirror and see that our face is dirty, we don’t break the mirror, or go to another mirror hoping to see something different than what is there. We take soap and water, wash our face, and then return to the mirror to see if the dirt has been removed, to see if we have remedied that which we saw as unpleasant when seeing our reflection.

Just as a mirror reflects what is placed before it, the word of God reflects what is in our hearts, without distortion. A mirror isn’t Photoshop. It won’t smooth away the wrinkles, it won’t clear away the acne, it won’t brighten the countenance; it reflects that which is there without alteration.

The word of God works in much the same manner, showing us the condition of our heart, and if we hope to see something different the next time we look in it, we must make the requisite changes. If no change is forthcoming, when once more we look into the mirror of the word, we will be confronted with the same image as before.

James 1:21-22, “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”

If we are displeased with the reflection we are seeing when we look into the mirror of God’s word, it’s not the mirror’s fault. If we desire to see something different than what we are seeing, then we must obey the word, and lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, receiving with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save our souls.

If we are but hearers of the word, and not doers thereof, we are deceiving ourselves. Yes, perhaps if we look in a mirror and squint, and tilt our head, and suck in our cheeks, what is reflected back to us might change somewhat, but without taking steps to clean our faces, or comb our hair, or remedy that which caught our eye, the instant we stop squinting and tilting our heads and sucking in our cheeks our reflection will revert back to what it was. A dirty face is a dirty face until you clean it. A dirty garment is a dirty garment until you wash it in the blood of the Lamb.

Because they are displeased with the reflection staring back at them, many a soul have chosen to lay the word of God aside, and no longer look in it as into a mirror. Rather than become doers of the word, allowing God to transform them into something pleasing in His sight, they do away with the word altogether.

We want God, but we want Him on our terms. We want eternity with Him, but not at the cost of forfeiting this present life, and denying the flesh. By now we ought to have learned that we can’t always get what we want, and getting to heaven laden with sin, is one of the things we will never get.

During the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim as king of Judah, the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, commanding him to take a scroll, and write on it all the words He had spoken to him against Israel, against Judah and all the nations. Since Jeremiah was instructed to write all the words God had spoken to him since the days of Josiah, Jeohiakim’s father to the present, chances are it was not a short tome.

Ever faithful to the voice of the Lord, Jeremiah called on Baruch, the son of Neriah, and Baruch proceeded to write on a scroll of a book, at the instruction of Jeremiah.

Once all the words had been transcribed to the scroll, Jeremiah instructed Baruch to take the scroll, read it before the people in the house of the Lord, and deliver it to the king.

Jeremiah 36:22-23, “Now the king was sitting in the winter house in the ninth month, with a fire burning on the hearth before him. And it happened when Jehudi had read three or four columns, that the king cut it with the scribe’s knife and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the scroll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth.”

It took only three or four columns for the king to grow so disgusted with his reflection, that in a fit of rage he broke the mirror into which he was looking. It took only three or four columns for the king to realize that his life was not in concert with the word of the Lord, and rather than repent and confess his transgressions, he chose to cut the scroll with the scribe’s knife, and cast it into the fire.

Every day of our lives we make the choice between coming before God with prayers of confession, acknowledging our trespasses, acknowledging our iniquity, acknowledging our shortcomings, and repenting before His mercy seat, or breaking the mirror reflecting the true image of ourselves.

Through His word God searches our hearts, and brings to the surface that which is not in accordance with His will. He does so out of love, and the desire to see us transformed into an image of His Son Jesus, for our own good, and for our own benefit.

When He reveals our shortcomings and our iniquities to us through His word, God is expressing His love toward us, and those who would grow bitter toward God for showing them their true reflection, neither understand Him, nor desire to have true fellowship with Him.

Job 22:21-23, “Now acquaint yourself with Him, and be at peace; thereby good will come to you. Receive, please, instruction from His mouth, and lay up His words in your heart. If you return to the Almighty, you will be built up; you will remove iniquity far from your tents.”

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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