Wednesday, January 5, 2011

SALT Challenge - Pray for Holiness

This week it was my turn to give the challenge to the SALT DT and since New Years typically brings with it resolutions, such as losing weight or exercising (both good goals by the way!), I thought this would be a good opportunity for us to also meditate on spiritual matters. If we seek to first renew the inward man then we can be sure that the outward man will also improve. The Scripture verse for this week's challenge, Pray for Holiness, is from 1 John 5:15, "And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him." I tend to have a "I can do it myself" kind of attitude when I approach challenges and while I don't think that's necessarily a sinful attitude to have I do think it can be a stumbling block to real practical and spiritual progress. I'll give you an example. I'm not a terribly patient person and I found out early on that having children is not for one who is lacking in patience. So...I prayed, I prayed and asked God to make me a patient person. Guess what? He didn't. You know why? I expected God to hit me on the head with some magical wand and turn me into a totally different person...pesto, chang-0...I'm now and forever more...patient. What I failed to realize is that God doesn't work that way. He works by us stepping out in faith, behaving in the way He's instructed us to behave in Scripture, and then relying on Him, through prayer, for the strength to do those things He called us to do. Martyn Lloyd-Jones had this to say on the challenge verse, "We can pray that all the precepts, all the promises, and all the prophecies in the Bible with respect to ourselves may be fulfilled in us. "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification" (1 Thess. 4:3). If you pray for sanctification, you can be sure that God will sanctify you. It is God's will that we may know His love; ask Him therefore to reveal His love to you by the Holy Spirit, and you can be certain He will do so. And it is the same with all the various other promises that are in the Scriptures. "Ask and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you" (Matt. 7:7). Are you concerned that you do not love as much as you ought? Tell Him about it; ask Him to shed His love abroad in your heart, and He will do so. Are you concerned about some sin that casts you down? Pray a confident prayer. It is the will of God that you should be delivered from sin; so pray for it. Are you concerned that your heart shall be clean? Offer David's prayer ("Create within me a clean heart, Oh God; and renew a right spirit within me, "Psalm 51:10) and I assure you, on the basis of the Word of God and His character, that He will answer you, and the blood of Christ will cleanse you from all sin and all unrighteousness. Go through your Bible, and make a list of the promises of God to you; then take them to God, use them in His presence, plead them, and you can be quite certain that you have your petitions. You already possess them, and in His own time and way God will give you a full realization of them and a full enjoyment of them." It's been almost seven years since I became a parent and I still struggle with patience from time to time but since I confessed that I couldn't "do it by myself" and began to "ask, seek, and knock" while simply exercising patience and praying for strength, I have seen an amazing transformation; not only in my own attitudes but more importantly in the behaviors of my children and in my general mood during the day. The bottom line is that God has called Christians to live differently. We are called to live a holy life; the Scriptures promise us that whatever His will is for our lives (live holy), He will enable us to do. We simply need to grab hold of God's promises and never let go...Not only is He able to grant us the strength to live as we ought but I suspect that He delights to hear and answer our prayers. If we would only ask... If you feel inspired to create a card, scrapbook page, or other project based on this week's challenge, please visit the SALT blog and leave us a comment with a link back to your blog or gallery. We'd be delighted to share your artwork!! ATC Details: Stamps: Unity Stamp Co. & Tim Holtz Paper: Ruby Rock-It


Hazel said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your beautiful crafting once more - and thank you for a challenging challenge!

Lythan said...

I love your thoughts on the challenge as ever Kim - but particularly the idea that praying for patience didn't automatically make you patient in a "zap" kind of way but has led to more patience as you become more attentive to the need for it. I think that says an awful lot about prayer and faith and I will be mulling over it for a while. I love the card too - what a cute church image!