Archive for April 6th, 2018

Confidence Need Not Be Pride

April 6th, 2018

Vindicate me, O LORD,
for I have walked in my integrity,
and I have trusted in the LORD without wavering.
Prove me, O LORD, and try me;
test my heart and my mind.
For your steadfast love is before my eyes,
and I walk in your faithfulness. (Psalm 26:1-3 ESV)

Most of us initially recoil from the seeming pride of this psalm. To us at first glance it seems self-congratulatory and Pharisaical, and lacks the humility of heart and soul that one surely ought always to have before God. Dare we ever come to God in anything less than a spirit of utter unworthiness and humility?

But on second examination, we can see why this psalm was included among the Spirit-inspired writings in the canon of scripture. The psalmist (a) gave a good report of his life to the Lord, but (b) did not reject further examination of his life by God, “test my heart and my mind.” And, most significant, (c) he did not claim that he himself was the author of any of this, but that he had stood in the “steadfast love” of God.

It is not truly self-congratulatory, but rather it is the report of a faithful believer to God. This is the prayer that Jesus would have prayed to the Father. It also teaches us that there will be times and moments in our own devotional lives when we need not invent sins to confess, that since our last confession we have walked with the Lord in constant obedience to Him.

A child should not think that every time he comes into his father’s presence he should hang his head in shame, nor that he should come in fear that the father will create something false to shame the child with.  A good and obedient child with a good and loving father should be able to walk into his presence often in the confidence in himself of knowing he had been obedient, and in the trust in his father, that he will reward obedience.

God has commanded us to be perfect, as He is perfect, and He also has promised to reward faithfulness and to build us up in our hearts in holiness. Are all of these commands and promises mere platitudes? Can they never be fulfilled, obeyed, and lived up to? Must we always come to the Lord like an ashamed child, head hanging down, fearful to even look up? Is there no possibility of ever reporting to God that we have not forgotten Him as the source of life and love, that we have not been drawn away from Him to entertain and do evil, that we have proclaimed His name and worshiped Him? Really this good report of one’s life to God, is simply a good report of God’s work in his own soul.

We should remember God’s words to Cain, who seemed to not only have compromised his own soul, but also to question whether there could ever be anything else for him to experience with God except an unending sense of failure.

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” (Gen. 4:6-7 NIV)

The same Lord who convicts us of sin (1 John 1:10), who chastises us when we are disobedient (Heb. 12:4-11), also affirms us when we are obedient and says, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:21). Faith is described in the Bible as not just being fearful of God’s punishing hand, but also to believe “that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Heb. 11:6).

We need not invent sin or confess what we had already confessed to God to be accepted. If we have stood in His power, and done what He has commanded us to do in the Spirit of the Lord, then let us let Him affirm us for our faithfulness. It all reflects upon Him anyway.

Daily Devotions