Friday, February 29, 2008

Search Me

The church I'm interning with needs a music pastor.  And though I didn't study music in college (other than three fun semesters of band), I've been elected to temporarily fill the spot.  This past Sunday was my first time leading congregational songs in a meeting of more that thirty people.  I'll admit I was nervous.  But I reminded myself constantly that my own music pastor, not matter how polished and poised he is now, had to endure a first service sometime. Afterwards, a couple members of the congregation told me their woes as a first time song leader.  Every story was an encouragement to me.
There's something encouraging about knowing someone else understands the struggles you're facing.  Especially when that someone has the power to help you in your struggle.  Like the men who had experience in rookie song leading, God is there for us in temptations.
In Psalm 139, David acknowledges that God has a complete understanding of the human condition.  God created us and made us in His image (vv. 13-17).  And after we fell, He spent just over 30 years living as a human in a fallen world.  "He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust" (Ps. 103:14).  He "was in all points tempted as we are" (Heb. 4:15).  God has better understanding of our wicked hearts than we do.
But that doesn't stop me from sinning.  I fall consistently, many times in a day, to things I do again and again and again.  My most frequent prayer is, "God, it's me.  I did it again."  And sometimes the temptations come so strong, so forceful, I feel I need to physically fight it--punch it, shove it, anything to get it away.  When that happens, I need to remind myself of this truth more than ever.  Why? Because if God knows the full extent of the temptation I'm experiencing, He knows the exact measure of grace I need at that time.
That's the true power of Christ!  He broke the power sin had in my life.  The power I need to live a holy life comes from this truth that God knows my heart.  Because He knows your heart, he "will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able" (1 Cor. 10:13).
So many times I've tried to face the temptation myself: I need this certain amount of Scripture memorized, this certain amount of friends on board, this certain amount of Biblical teaching.  Those things are good and helpful, but what I need is a simple cry to person who's run this race before, who finished it with perfection, who provides the grace sufficient for my needs: "Search me, O God, and know my heart...and lead me in the way everlasting" (Ps. 139:23-24).

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