Yesterday’s prayer J.A.R. challenge was to praise God for who He is and what He has done.
This was interesting because it went deeper than just thanking Him for things that went well during my day. It was quite an experience to think about who He is, and praise Him by all of the names that describe His character: Rock, Provider, Merciful One, Lover of My Soul.
When I got to the “what He has done” part, I didn’t think just about the things He has done for me recently, but also the things He has done for me since the beginning of time. Creating me, sending His Son to die for my sins, forgiving me, loving me unconditionally, blessing me when I don’t deserve it.
I started thinking about all the little things He does for me everyday. As an example, I thought about if I was crossing the steeet and didn’t see a car coming, but God intervened and got the driver’s attention so they saw me and stopped. I would probably never know that even happened, but God was there, watching over me.
There’s a quote (there always is, right?) about how God is always working in our lives.
God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, and you may be aware of 3 of them.
I find that so encouraging! Even when I feel like God isn’t doing anything, He is working behind-the-scenes to make everything work together for my good.
Sorry I’m a little behind on posting these. The thing is that I usually do them at night, so I can’t post until at least the next morning.
My challenge for day 4, which was 2 days ago, was to pray for the world.
That sounds like a pretty heavy challenge, doesn’t it? There’s a lot of tragedies happening in the world right now, which means there’s a lot to pray about.
As I was praying, I found myself becoming irritated with the world. I obviously wasn’t going to blame God for what was happening, so who was left to blame?
People. Us. You. Me.
It’s so easy for us to point the finger at God and say, “If He is a merciful God who controls everything, then why is He letting bad things happen?” I know, trust me I do, how difficult of a question that is to answer, and how caught up on it people get.
The simple answer is, it’s not His fault. It’s because of evil. If you want to blame someone, blame Satan!
You might think, “Why can’t God just abolish evil?” Well, eventually He will. It says so in Romans 16:20-“The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.”
Until then, it goes back to the matter of free will, which I posted a quote about not long ago. Though free will makes evil possible, it also makes possible any joy or goodness worth having.
Maybe you’ve seen the movie Bruce Almighty, where a man played by Jim Carrey is given the powers of God, and told he can do anything but mess with free will.
He tries to use his powers to get his ex-girlfriend to love him, but it doesn’t work. But isn’t that a good thing? Because would love even be love if it were forced? Doesn’t it feel good when someone loves you not because they have to, but because they want to?
Sure, there is a lot of evil in the world, but there is also a lot of good. I’m not suggesting we ignore the evil. I’m suggesting we overcome it with the good. Romans 12:21 puts it beautifully: “Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.”
Conquer. That’s such a powerful word. Conquer evil! Be so good that evil just can’t stand it!
I would like to close with a quote that was on my mind while I was praying for the world.
People deny the existence of God, and then blame Him for the chaos that ensues.
We’ve surely all heard the infamous story of Jekyll and Hyde. They are two sides to the same person. The difference is quite extreme. One is good and one is evil. It is a case of split personality disorder. While not many of us have two literal personalities living in us, most of us have two sides. Especially Christians. We have that side of us that is Christlike and holy, and that side of us that ruins our righteousness; that side that is not who we are. It’s our sinful side. Sometimes it shows itself for a brief moment when we break character and cuss at someone on the road. Othertimes, it shows itself for longer periods of time when we experience a lapse in judgement, such as when we put ourselves in a place where we will be tempted to sin and, consequently, do. Either way, when we switch back to our godly side, we realize that what we did was wrong and we feel guilty. We know in our hearts that the person God made us to be would not do what we just did. Romans 7:15 says, “I do not understand what I do…What I hate I do.” Verse 20 goes on to say, “If I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.” Ever since the days of Adam and Eve, mankind has had a sinful nature. We let this sinful nature, this other side of us, take over sometimes. In a song by Plumb titled ‘Lord, I’m Ready Now,’ she sings the lyrics, “I was so caught up in who I’m not.” That happens. I can think of many times when that’s happened to me. When my godly side got mad at my sinful side because it couldn’t believe that it made my body do what it just did. These two sides war against each other, see? They cannot coexist. One always comes out on top. Another song that comes to mind is ‘My Own Worst Enemy’ by Casting Crowns. The song is about warring against your sinful side. The reason I titled this post ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ is because I just heard a Plumb song by that title. There’s an excerpt from that song that fits well here. “You make it look like I am the crazy one here.” In the worst of situations, when it feels like you’ve hit rock bottom, you begin to wonder if choosing to live your life for God was the right decision. You think back on your sins and wonder if they’re even that bad. You begin to think that it’s not fair that God doesn’t let you do what you want. The “you” that Plumb is referring to is her sinful side: Hyde. It makes her feel like her godly side is crazy, and not her sinful side. It makes her feel like she’s crazy for not doing what she sees others doing. There comes a point in every Christian’s life when they want to give into their sinful side. Permanently. It is then that you have to weigh the pros and cons of being a godly Christian. It is then that you must remember the guilt you’ve felt in the past when your sinful side took over. Then you will realize that it’s worth it to be a Christian. Not easy, but worth it. It’s okay to live a life that others don’t understand. It’s best to not let your sinful side get the upper hand.