Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Meditation, Prayer & that Beast called "The Flesh"

Over the last few months I've been reading Kris Lundgaard's book The Enemy within: Straight Talk about the Power and Defeat of Sin. This morning I came across this passage from chapter seven entitled, "No Idle Mind." I pray that his insight blesses you as it did me this morning.

"Your flesh won't sit still for meditation and prayer any more than a wolverine would submit to your surgery. The flesh resists with its last breath anything that smacks of communion with God, because it suffocates in his presence. If you draw close to God in meditation and prayer, adoring God, getting to know him, and calling on him to search your heart, prepare to see the flesh scratch and claw like a wounded badger. It will do everything to stop you from meditation and prayer" (73).

Amen, I've found this to be true. Lundgaard then reveals four "claws" of this wolverine. (1) The claw of weakness which makes excuses out of the things that challenge us in this life, like the willingness to get out of bed in time to be with the Lord. "If you don't imbed it in your mind that prayer and meditation are indispensable, and seek God's grace every day to resist the sluggishness of your body, you will hit the snooze button all morning rather than kneel before the throne. And if you snooze, you lose" (74).

(2) The claw of the urgent which, of course, always finds a reason why there's not enough time to seek the Lord. But, Lungaard queries, would the Lord really call us to a life in which we don't have enough time to spend with him and also do his will? No, he would not, since his will for everyone's life is centered in living in communion with him. As a Pastor friend of mine is fond of saying, if we're too busy for God, we're too busy and we need to repent.

(3) The claw of the duty swap which would have us believe that seeking God by other means is sufficient to replace the personal pursuit of his presence. So, "I go to church and pray when I'm driving and before meals; that's enough." Actually, it's not. No relationship can develop on the fly, it takes sustained time and effort and, in this case, humble submission to him who sees all things, even the deep things of the heart.

(4) The claw of the big promise which says, "Once I finish this project or get through this season, I'll give more time to the Lord." But this never works because we always reap what we sow. If we sow indifference to the Lord today, we'll reap even greater indifference when the current hurdle has been navigated. Today is the day of salvation and therefore we must seek the Lord today--every today--while he may be found.

The point is that God has given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3), but we must apply what he's given to us by his grace and power. The flesh will do it can to trick us out of using the tools the Lord has provided, but the Spirit will help us in our weakness if we will only turn to him. So why not cut out the excuses today and seek the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength?

Thanks, Kris Lundgaard, you really helped me today! And thanks, Jesus, for your work in Kris, and for John Owen who inspired him to write. You are a faithful Lord and leader of your church, your temple, your Bride!

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