Sunday, February 4, 2018

Say what?

So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet. (James 4:10 MSG)
In looking at prayer this week, I wanted to take a look at this familiar passage from James. James puts it so very well - plain enough for us to really understand what prayer really helps to accomplish in our lives. As we say "yes" to God in our lives, he comes into our lives in ways we didn't even know we needed him. He isn't lax in his care, nor is he timid in his exploration. His desire is that his will takes the place of our own stubborn, sinful will. Why? Simply put, we need purity in places we don't even know about yet!
Time in conversation with God helps us see those edges that are a little too rough, the dark corners no one has really explored in a long time, and the secret rooms where we have stashed away memories we just should have let go of a long time ago. It is the time we declare to the enemy of our soul that he no longer will get the upper hand - he doesn't have control - God does! Notice...we say a LOUD 'no' to Satan, but a quiet 'yes" to God. Prayer isn't about how loud we get in our sharing with God, it is how genuine we get!
As James so aptly puts it - when we are willing to get serious, God is willing to take action in ways we never imagined possible. We settle into time with Jesus and he settles into our lives in ways that bring us clarity, comfort, conviction, commitment, and courage. We get down on our knees, a rather submissive action that is supposed to match the intent of our heart. The sad truth is captured in this passage, though. We often don't get really serious with God until we are at 'rock bottom'. When our back is up against the wall, suddenly we find time for the relationship.
God isn't after just those moments of 'rock bottom'. Yes, we need to turn to him during those times, but we also need the consistency of the daily expression of our willingness to turn our back on the old and embrace the new. To say 'no' to the choices that would delight the devil and say a very clear 'yes' to the choices that ignite a fire within us that burns with the passion of Christ - this is the desired outcome of our time alone with Jesus. To pray isn't just to simply express our need - it is to allow Jesus to get access to parts of us that require his skillful exploration. Just sayin!