Vintage message from May 12, 2002.
How often do we as believers today approach God from that perspective? “God, I’m struggling, and I need Your help!” You know what?…I’ll tell everybody else about all the things I’m angry about, but then I find when I pray — because, you know, you gotta be reverent when you come before God and you gotta be religious and holy when you come before God and sometimes we fall into that trap of thinking about God in that way, but you know what? God does not want our holiness because He knows He’s not going to get it. If He’s looking for holiness from me, He knows the only way He’s going to get it is to put it in me, and He did that with His Son, Jesus Christ. He wants me to come to Him with truth; what’s truly going on in my heart; what’s truly going on in my life — and this is what [King] David knew…
Do you believe that God is merciful? Do you stand in God’s mercy? I’m here today because of God’s mercy. I deserve the destruction that the wicked should get that David’s praying for, but instead God led me into His house and showed me His mercy… And this is also a weakness that I find within our society today: people want to know that there’s the temples out there in the world, they want to claim religion, but you now what? There’s not a lot of people who truly want to seek God, to know Him personally, to go before Him, to receive that mercy that comes from Him… Do you see yourself, when you stop to pray, coming into the house of God? Do you see yourself humbling your heart before the God and King Who created you? And do you see yourself as being actually welcomed into that house?
The fact is, God does spread His protection over those who love Him, but what does that protection come in the form of? Does it mean that we’re never going to have trouble? When God is protecting us, does it mean that we’re never going to be hurt, that we’re never going to be challenged, that the enemies in the world around us are never going to stand against us? No. That protection comes in the form of protection for my heart. That God loves me and He brings me to a place where at least if I am being attacked, if I’m struggling because of the world around me, that I know that I can depend on Him to give me a shoulder to cry on, to be Someone there Who will hear me when I’m struggling and that I can pray to, that I can talk to, that I can enter into love relationship with. And it’s not just for the bad times that we talk to God, but He wants us to approach Him in the good times as well. The door to His house is open to us…
It’s okay to struggle sometimes. It’s okay, from time to time, to hurt inside because it’s in hurting that we learn about the mercy of God. It makes us draw close to Him. We oftentimes, when things are too good, begin to take God for granted, and that’s where people really begin to struggle. That when the blessing then stops for some reason, then those people cry out, “Oh, God! Why have you abandoned me?” We assume that material blessings, the things that we have, are God’s way of showing us His favor toward us. That’s not always true… That’s the thing we need to remember, though, when things are hard, when we’re struggling, when we have our last dime or we’re down to our last string, our last rope. That we’re falling. God hears us if we pray to Him, and He’s merciful to us when we seek Him. He desires to have love relationship with us, and He never promises us that it’s going to be easy.
What makes you upright in heart? Is it from the good things you do? No, you can not do enough good things to call yourself upright in heart. There’s only one thing that you can do to call yourself upright in heart and that is to receive the forgiveness that comes through the blood of Jesus Christ; to acknowledge Jesus as Lord and Savior because of what He did for us on the cross. That is the only thing that makes us upright in heart.
Pastor Dave Elkins