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encouragement from steve wise

Wednesday, April 08 2020

Dear friends,

“Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.”

– Psalm 139:23-24

You may have noticed that we have used this as our Prayer of Confession for the past several weeks. This has not been the result of laziness or an oversight. The repeated practice of this prayer would serve us well in any season. It serves us especially well during this season of waiting and uncertainty. These verses end one of the most beautiful Psalms about our value to God and God’s constant presence with us. David asserts at the beginning that the Lord knows everything about him and then concludes this song with the desire for the Lord to know him and reveal to him both his self-destructive worries and hurtful behaviors.

In this prayer, we have an image of mining for precious metals. We ask God to dig into us like a miner for gold hidden well below the surface. We then request that the Lord discover our thoughts, imaginations, feelings, and desires AND to reveal them to us. The prayer is for God to know us as we really are in the depth of our being and to enable us to have greater self-awareness.

But the prayer does not stop here. We move from this discovery into trying or testing. This word was commonly used for assaying metals or determining their authenticity and worth. We ask the Lord to test our divided opinions about people and things that create anxiety in us. These divided opinions are the different stories we tell ourselves or narratives we weave in our minds about the past and the future that disturb us and disrupt our lives.

The prayer presses further, beyond our motivations and thoughts to our behavior. We ask God to inspect our actions for pain and sorrow they have caused to other people with our words and action, our silence and inaction. The word for hurtful also refers to idols. The theme of idolatry runs throughout Scripture. Idolatry is finding our worth or centering our identity in anyone or anything other than God. When we fail to find our worth and center our identity in God, we end up hurting other people in our selfish pursuits for the fulfillment our idols always fail to give us. It comes out in our words and behaviors. It is the essence of sin and it is sinister and subtle. We need the Lord to show us because we cannot see it in ourselves.

Finally, we ask God to lead us and guide us in an eternal way of life – to become the kind of people we want to be forever. This is not something I can do by myself but it is not something the Father will do without me. This prayer takes an incredible amount of self-honesty and bears fruit in self-awareness. This self-awareness helps us to love others well – with our words and with our actions. We begin to learn about the real effect we have on others and allow the Lord to transform us from the inside out.

So in light of this prayer and the times in which we are living, the Lord seems to be teaching me that the best way I can love other people – in my home, in our church, in our community, and in our world – is to ask the Lord to help me manage my own anxiety so my words and actions toward others are not coming from a place of selfish fear but trust in the Lord.

* Holy Week Services online -

- Maundy Thursday – 6pm

- Good Friday – 6pm

- Easter Sunday – 9:30am – We encourage you to dress up and honor your family  traditions. Let’s                                                                                  make this one of the best Easter celebrations ever!

Your friend

Steve Wise

Posted by: Steve AT 03:11 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
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