Today’s Lectio Divina: Excerpts from Psalm 32. (MsgB)
Count yourself lucky, how happy you must be— you get a fresh start, your slate’s wiped clean. Count yourself lucky— God holds nothing against you and you’re holding nothing back from Him. When I kept it all inside, my bones turned to powder, my words became daylong groans. The pressure never let up; all the juices of my life dried up. Then I let it all out; I said, “I’ll make a clean breast of my failures to God.” Suddenly the pressure was gone— my guilt dissolved, my sin disappeared.
Walking with God on a daily basis requires a much different approach to life than most of us are used to.
Come to think about it, walking with God requires a much different approach to our spirituality as well.
In most religions, including much of Christianity, we believe that for us to be ‘successful’ in our religious pursuit of God, we need to become really well-skilled at removing sin from our lives. In other words, the more sin I can remove from my life, the more successful I’ll be with my God.
As I see it, it’s this approach to sin (and God) that makes us into zealous sin-managers. And quite honestly, over a lifetime, this approach to sin drives us into becoming men and women who work really hard to convince ourselves (and God) that our sin-count is decreasing on a regular basis! But here’s the rub. Sin, as we discussed earlier when looking at Psalm 25, is something we human beings will always struggle with in this lifetime. Oh yes, we might make some progress here or there with one aspect of our lives, but quite honestly, sin (missing the mark) will never be something I will eliminate as long as I’m alive and breathing in this fallen world. So unfortunately, it’s this mindset of sin reduction equaling good standing with God that teaches me to hide my sin, keeping it out of sight and out of mind, hoping that my God might not see this backload of bad stuff that embarrasses me so to the highest heaven!
Unfortunately, the church doesn’t help at all here, because we tend to give medals and awards to those who have apparently reduced their sin count. We even give titles out like ‘saint’ or ‘priest’ or ‘elder’ to those who have, from our limited earthly perspective, minimalized their sin to such a degree that we can barely see any bad stuff in them at all.
But King David, wisely, never took this sin-management, sin-reduction approach to God. In Psalm 32, we find him singing about his unique confessions to God and his sin. And here it is in a nutshell.
David knew that everyday he would sin. From day one to his last day on the planet, I sense David knew that he was going to be a sinner. No shame. No hiding it. No song and dance to keep it from others or from God. But rather than working really hard to stuff his sin away in some holy box so that God and others would never see it, David decided early on to make a clean sweep of it on a daily basis. You see, King David was not one who reduced his sin, but was one who became really good in his ability to bring his sin to his God on a moment-by-moment, as-needed basis.
No shame. No hiding. No embarrassment. No pretending. Just gut-wrenching honesty that allowed him to sit in front of God and unload his bag of sin, clearing the air, and getting a “clean breast of my failures to God.”
I wonder if this day-by-day, moment-by-moment, honest approach to my sin is what Jesus had in mind when He invited His friends to come, follow Him?
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with Me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 10: 28-30
I don’t know about you, but unloading my daily bag of sin with God today sure sounds like a much better deal than trying to hide it away, carrying that heavy load into tomorrow.
My prayer: God, I choose today to be gut-honest with You. I’m a sinner. I’ve failed. I’ve fallen short of Your standards for my life. Instead of stuffing it down, hiding it away, allowing it rot my bones and dry up the juices of my life, I make a clean breast of my failures with You. Forgive me, cleanse me, and fill me with Your Love. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: How have I become one who stuffs away my sin, hiding it away in boxes that I believe will keep it hidden from God and others? What might it look like for me to become more like King David, who openly and freely confessed his failings on a moment-by-moment basis?
So what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Psalms?
Over a 50-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at The Psalms: God’s Songbook of Prayers. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Contemplating the Psalms home page for ease of use. Keep in mind that one of the best ways to explore the on-going applications of this blog series is to walk alongside a biblically-based, Christ-centered spiritual director who is familiar with how to make material like this part of your overall spiritual formation in God. Many of our directors in our Sustainable Faith-Heartland network are available to companion you in your journey with Jesus. Click here for more info.
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