Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Be Careful What You (don't) Pray For

Has anyone ever told you to not pray for patience? Or has anyone ever related an anecdote to you about how they prayed once for patience and never would again?

Should I admit out loud that both those comments annoy me? 'Cause they really truly do.

So, I get it. I get the fact that patience is cultivated through trials. And trials are anything but fun. I know. That is what James teaches...

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraids not; and it shall be given him.

But, nutshell...would you rather be perfect and entire, lacking nothing? Or would you rather be the opposite?

Not moving forward. Not being refined. Not being changed into Christ's image. 

Stagnant. Losing ground. Leanness of soul. Incomplete. Settling. Shallow.

That is much more scary to me than trials.

As he was recounting the Israelites' desert experience, David put it this way...

And He (God) gave them their request, but sent leanness to their soul. (Psalm 106:15)

Leanness or lacking nothing? That's our choice.

Jesus didn't embrace the cross because His trial was something wonderful. No. It was shameful. Painful. But for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame. It was what was beyond the cross that made it worth going through.

It is the same for us. Jesus Christ is our example-the author and finisher of our faith. Our intercessor.

As we follow our Example through trials, what is waiting for us?

Being changed into the image of Christ. Character development. Completeness.

What are you willing to ask for? What are you settling for?