Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Help Yourself...Not!

Have mercy on me, O God…

Psalm 51:1a

There are those who pretty much live out their “Christian” life in this way—God helps those who help themselves. It is difficult for them to connect that the God who gave them life also wants to live and help them, daily.

God is intimately acquainted with us. For us, however, to be intimately acquainted with God takes humility. The, God helps those who help themselves, approach doesn’t allow room for much humility. The emphasis is pretty much on the individual will power of “me.”

Humility is the defining characteristic of an unpretentious and modest person, someone who does not think that he or she is better or more important than others (wikipedia.org). Here’s the attitude of a Jesus follower coming to confession. When we ask God to have mercy on us it is the first step in acknowledging that our lives are nothing without God’s presence and the first step towards repentance. True confession, honest repentance cannot begin without first stepping towards humility and asking for God’s mercy.

“Helping ourselves” isn’t the Jesus way. God didn’t create us so that we could “go it alone” or “make our own way.” In asking for God’s mercy we identify him as the artist, welcoming him into the painting of our lives. Here is evidence of his gift of free will. God wants to keep on painting! It is at the point of our saying, have mercy on me, O God that humility overtakes our pretentions and he can continue.

Repentance has just begun.

Have mercy on me, O God.
I cannot help myself and my life
is nothing without you.

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