Monday, February 13, 2012

A Helpful Prayer

What kind of seed are you planting?

Gal. 6:7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.
Gal. 6:8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

Recently, after hearing a reference to this verse, I was spurred to make this a constant prayer of my life: “Lord, help me not to sow to the flesh but to sow to the Spirit.”
Oh, so many applications came to mind. When I am faced with temptations like wandering eyes or a wandering mind, I pray for God’s help in sowing to the Spirit. Corruption is not to be desired. Corruption is what temptation hopes I won’t notice. But it is inevitable when one “sows to the flesh.”

And in a positive, proactive sense, I pray for God to help me continually to walk in the Spirit and live my life in a way that pleases Him, i.e., to sow to the Spirit. We are currently studying the book of Jude and learning about the instruction to “keep ourselves in the love of God.” Jude is clear, the way to do so is by “building yourselves up in your most holy faith, and praying in the Holy Spirit…[and] waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Those three responsibilities on my part are “sowing to the Spirit.”

I find that I’ve begun to pray this prayer on a very regular basis. And I believe God is answering and helping me to “sow to the Spirit.”

Monday, February 6, 2012

Do I Want Decisions When I Preach?

I never much liked the term decisions because it’s so semi-Pelagian. What’s that? Well, a semi-Pelagian is a half Pelagian. And I’m not trying to be cute. In simplest terms a Pelagian (named after Pelagius, 4th-5th century A.D.) thinks that man has 100% responsibility and ability to respond to God for salvation. A semi-Pelagian says no, first God must do His part, then man does his part and, finally, putting those two halves together brings the person to salvation...sort of a 50/50 proposition.

The problem is so many Christians are semi-Pelagians and they don’t even know it. In other words, they believe God has done all that He can do and now it’s all up to the lost sinner. He or she must decide whether to believe it or not and whether to do anything about it or not completely on his or her own.

Let’s be very clear. Any response you or I make to God that is pleasing to Him is solely because He in His marvelous amazing grace has enabled us to do so. Philippians 2:13: “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

But back to decisions. Can I live with that term? Well, if by that you mean that while the Word is being preached God the Holy Spirit brings deep conviction upon the heart and mind of an unbeliever, prompting them to despair of any hope for their salvation apart from the saving grace of Jesus Christ, granting them the gift of repentance and faith so that they abandon their sin and surrender to Jesus as their Lord and Savior, then certainly I am hoping and praying for decisions.

But for Christians my real hope and prayer is that you have made a relentless prior decision. My prayer is that before coming to the preaching of the Word you have deeply committed yourself to the idea that you will eagerly listen to the Word of God and you will devote all your being to obeying, by His enabling power, what God reveals to you through His Word…a relentless prior decision. Think of it as a blank contract to which you have already signed your name and are simply waiting for God to fill in the terms of the contract. Let your decision be, in the words of Samuel, “Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.”