Not up to me, but the One that listens

​Many times over the past few days my human sin nature comes out. Actually it comes out more than the past few days, it comes out all the time but I have been particularly aware of it these past few days. During my many prayers, it becomes easy for me to think that there is something else I need to do. that there is something more that I can do. I start thinking of all of the other words or phrases I could say to God to get Him to answer my prayers. I think of all the ways I could kneel or throw myself on the floor begging, pleading for God to come and intervene.
Then, I am reminded about truth. Maybe it is a faint voice. Maybe it is the Spirit at work in me. Or maybe it is something else that I can’t even understand or know. But the basis of faith comes back and smacks me in the face. It is simply not up to me. It is doesn’t matter what I say or what I do. it is simply up to The One that listens. I could say all the fancy words and phrases we have heard throughout our lives and say the most eloquent prayers, but it doesn’t make a lick of difference. God doesn’t want those things. He doesn’t want the ritual and the words that aren’t from our heart. He doesn’t want the things we do that don’t truly seek Him. All He wants is our honesty.
The One that knows us intimately, actually knows us better than we know ourselves, just wants us to be honest with Him. He just wants to hear our heartfelt words. The things that are on our mind.
In all honesty, here I am telling God what I need. Telling Him when I need it. telling Him that I need this healing. I guess maybe, I take my eyes off of heaven and God and put them back on myself and what I can do. I start thinking about what can I do to make God answer these prayers. What else do I need to do? What more can I do? I just want this to be over. I just want healing to come and the pain to be gone.
But it is not up to me…
It is doesn’t matter what I say or what I do. It is simply up to God. Sometimes, if I am honest with you, that is scary. It is scary as I wrestle with God over control. Or in this case try to earn His favor by doing things. Most of us if we are honest with ourselves have probably prayed prayers that we made wild promises to God that if He answered we would do something or give something up. We just want those things so bad whether it is healing or overcoming addiction and suffering or something else. We just want God to answer those prayers. As we all know, sometimes God doesn’t answer. He doesn’t give us what we ask for. He doesn’t give us what we think we need. He may give us shattered dreams.
This reminds me that as we may do this in our prayer life of trying to earn God’s favor or do something to get Him to answer our prayers, it is easy to do this with our own salvation. It is easy to start down that slippery slope of trying to earn salvation. We start off with the best of intentions or sometimes we don’t. sometimes we do things out of guilt or because we feel we have to so that we can be a “good Christian”. We say long ritualistic prayers to make ourselves feel better so we can mark off a box. We volunteer but we don’t do it with pure and loving motives. We do so many different things but in the end, are we doing it out of love and thanksgiving or out guilt and obligation? I am not here to judge and criticize. Who am I to do that? I do the very things that I just discussed and I am not proud of it at all. I fall into the trap of looking at my salvation as a bank. Doing good things to make deposits and my sins as taking withdrawals. The problem is I am in terrible debt that I will never recover from.
Yet for the grace of Jesus that I can enter His place of rest. I don’t have to do any more. I don’t have to try to earn salvation. I don’t have to run my self into exhaustion. For in His land of grace, I can simply rest. I can simply let the joy and thanksgiving and satisfaction in God pour out of me into acts of service. Not because I have to, but because I am thankful for His great love that paid my debt. Salvation is not up to me. It is not up to what I do or say.
And the same goes for my prayer life. I simply need to humble myself before the Almighty, acknowledge Him as God and trust in His ways. Is it easy? No, we still wrestle for control. We still think we need to do or say something. May our faith never be in what we do or say or certain words and phrases, but in the One who listens. He knows our hearts. He knows our pain and He is sending the Comforter. Thankfully, He gave us His Spirit that helps us when we do not know what we ought to say. I hope and pray that you and I both can give our worries and anxieties to God and trust in Him and what He can do. That we trust in His Spirit to help us and depend on Him.
25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. 26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. Romans 8:25-27

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