One of the greatest blessings God has graced to my family in the last several years is a relationship with David Price. David lives, works and ministers in England and today we receive trusted counsel from him in his post. If you are a Twitter subscriber, sign up to follow David at @SeedsFour – Jeff
Colossians 3:17 – And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
I Corinthians 10:31 – Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God
If we were to rephrase the above verses into prayers, we would get this:
Lord, help me today so that I don’t get led into temptation, and deliver me from evil
Lord, help me today so that everything I do or say or think is in Your name today, and with true appreciation for all your grace and mercy to me
Lord, help me today so that even in the little things, indeed in every area of life (eating, or drinking, or whatever) I do all to the glory of God
Do you see a contrast between them?
- One is “keep me out of negative” … the other two are exhortations to a “thankful positive” way of life
- One is essentially selfish & self-centred (keep me out of trouble) … the other two are essentially God-honouring & Christ-exalting
In other words they are based on, and reflect, completely different attitudes. It is not wrong to pray in ways similar to all three, of course – but do we stop there? We might pray the first one occasionally for ourselves or others; but I suspect it is probably quite rare for us to pray the other two (let alone seek to put them into practice every day). And that is of course because it is much easier to settle at a lower level! Such a lifestyle brings less pressure; it is not too demanding, it is not too challenged by others, nor is it too challenging to others. It is comfortable – or (in other words) complacent.
But what are the implications of such a state of mind and heart? If you think about it, you will see that it is more “just staying out of trouble” than “pursuing holiness in the fear of the Lord”; it is more “trying not to displease” rather than positively seeking to please; it is a lifestyle than can be performed externally – as opposed to following hard after God from the heart. And where does such an attitude come from? The adversary of our souls, who wants us to forget we are engaged in combat. Satan wants to lead us into temptation & evil; he wants to hinder / spoil / snuff out any witness. He doesn’t want us doing either the “positive” or the “negative”; but of the two he would prefer to let us get “comfortable”, because an external Pharisee is better than a Spirit-filled shining light. Remember Matthew 5:16?
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
The last thing Satan wants is for us to us to have an impact on those around us simply by how we live and what our prayers and priorities are. Is one attitude wrong and the other right? Of course not; we should be seeking to pray and live “Both/AND” not “Either/Or” of the above. We will never shine unless we are being kept from sin; and we will never be kept from sin unless we are constantly praying against it. Indeed, a lack of prayer shows a lack of felt dependence; a lack of felt (daily) dependence suggests a poor relationship with the Lord; and a poor relationship with the Lord can never shine! May the Lord write these things on our hearts, and enable us to both resist temptation and live for His glory.
Lord, your glory is at stake in how I live life before You and before men today. You know my weaknesses, and so does the adversary of my soul. You know how often I get complacent, and how often I live for myself and not for You, and how often I am just plain ungrateful for all your daily mercies let alone all the riches of Your grace. So I ask for Your help today, Your renewed grace and mercy, so that I am not led into temptation, but am delivered from evil in any shape or form. Help me to live and speak and think at all times and in all company (or on my own) as an ambassador for the King of Heaven, as one who is “not my own but bought with a price”. Help me to live in the light of your redeeming and faithful love to me, so that in every area of life (eating, or drinking, or working, or driving, or talking, or whatever) my conscious and deliberate aim is to do all to the glory of God. Amen.