December 27, 2021

An End to Delusion


You say, “I am innocent; surely his anger has turned from me.” Now I am bringing you to judgment for saying, “I have not sinned.”

Jeremiah 2:35
There must come a time in the lives of each of God's children that we stop deluding ourselves. As the calendar year comes to a close and I take stock of the year that is passed, I need to pause and admit my shortcomings to God. As I do so, I know that I am joining countless millions to ask not only for forgiveness, but for the strength to live a renewed and risen life in God's sight, through the grace of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed.
 1 Peter 1:13
Prayer after thinking about today's devotion:
O unapproachable Light, how can I fold these guilty hands before you? How can I pray to you with lips that have spoken false and churlish words?

A heart hardened with vindictive passions;
An unruly tongue;
A fretful disposition;
An unwillingness to bear the burdens of others;
High professions joined to low attainments;
Fine words hiding shabby thoughts;
A friendly face masking a cold heart;
Many neglected opportunities and many uncultivated talents;
Much love and beauty unappreciated and many blessings unacknowledged:
All these I confess to you, O God.

I thank you, O loving God, that, holy and transcendent as you are, you have through all the ages shown yourself to be accessible to the prayers of erring mortals such as I; and especially I praise your Name that in the gospel of Jesus Christ you have opened up a new and living way into your presence, making your mercy free to all who have nothing else to plead.

Let me now find peace of heart by fleeing from myself and taking refuge in you. Let despair over my miserable sins give place to joy in your adorable goodness. Let depression of mind make way for renewed zeal and for the spirit of service.

So let today be filled not with thoughts of self, my own hopes and fears, or even my sins, but give me grace to think of others who need you, and of the service that I can perform for their sakes in the vineyard of your world.
 John Baillie, A Diary of Private Prayer (alt.)
✙ 
After your own thanksgivings & petitions, close with the Lord's Prayer.

Lyrics (Charles Wesley, 1749)

I want a principle within of watchful, godly fear,
a sensibility of sin, a pain to feel it near.
I want the first approach to feel of pride or wrong desire,
to catch the wandering of my will, and quench the kindling fire.

From thee that I no more may stray, no more thy goodness grieve, 
grant me the filial awe, I pray, the tender conscience give.
Quick as the apple of an eye, O God, my conscience make;
awake my soul when sin is nigh, and keep it still awake.

Almighty God of truth and love, to me thy power impart;
the mountain from my soul remove, the hardness from my heart.
O may the least omission pain my reawakened soul,
and drive me to that blood again, which makes the wounded whole.

More of you and less of us,
more of you and less of us, 
more of you and less of us,
Jesus.
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