December 10, 2014

Psalm 68:19-20 Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior,
who daily bears our burdens.
Our God is a God who saves;
from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death.

There are many verses in Psalm 68 that speak strongly to me, but these two seem to bear the most connection to the Advent season. As John 3:16 proclaims, the whole reason for the Incarnation of Christ was so that He could be our Savior; there is no other escape from death. David didn’t know about the cross, but he knew God as Savior on several levels. The thing about this passage that most touches me is the simple word, daily. God isn’t there just for the big events, He’s there for every little detail of our lives, if we will only recognize Him. Our response to Him is likewise to be constant, rather than sporadic. Luke 9:23 comes strongly to mind: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23) For so many, religion is a “time, place, occasion” sort of thing. That’s fine for deciding what clothes to wear, but it’s not for having a real relationship, with God or anyone else. You’re not to love your spouse when you’re at home and forget about them when you’re at work (though some people try to live that way). In the same way, you’re not to love God on Sundays and forget about Him the rest of the week. Jesus Christ is Savior all the time; we need to walk in grateful, obedient fellowship all the time.

This is something to which I would have given lip service many years ago, because it’s only logical, but living it out in practical application has been a different matter. God has saved me more times and in more ways than I could possibly enumerate, and those are just the times I’m aware of! I wish I could say that my obedience has been as consistent and faithful. As a pastor, one of my greatest tasks is getting this principle of a constant relationship through to the believers. We are so prone to turn to God only when it’s convenient! I’ve got to model a faithful lifestyle and at the same time help people understand and believe that such a lifestyle isn’t just for “professional” Christians. I am not to berate but encourage, correcting in love when necessary, but remembering that without God’s help none of us have any hope of living this way. I’ve also got to remember, and teach, that He’s ready and waiting to enable us to live this way, because that’s what He desires of us.

Father, thank You for the “teachable moments” I’ve been having with one young man recently. I pray that he would grasp this principle indeed and walk in it, for his sake and for the sake of the Body of Christ, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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