With my wife traveling in Ireland with her Mom and sisters for a week, I have been and will be until she returns more than usually tempted to lust. Let’s admit the elephant in the room, men, and tackle him one gouge at a time. Lust is a gnarly foe, as are pride, anger, bitterness, jealousy, selfish ambition, slander, materialism, laziness, selfishness, narcissism, and all other grossness we know as sin.
As I wrestled and fought for purity in the early evening, God caught my attention through a friend’s text of encouragement and through Psalm 145. Pack Atkins texted me about how the fear of God can function as a brake peddle and the love of God as a gas peddle in our fight against sin. Psalm 145 reminded me of God’s greatness, His sufficiency, His glory, His steadiness and steadfast love, His abundant mercy, His slowness to anger, and our desperation and need for Him.
Who does Psalm 145 hold out promise to? This is incredible. Ready for this? Notice that these are NOT qualifications for God to show us His favor. We can’t earn it! He wants us to surrender to Him! The word “surrender” means to give into the power of the other. We give in to the power of our Savior and are undone, overcome by His goodness and grace in our lives.
This is the secret to changing for men and women in all areas of sin.
Generation after generation (vs 4)
Those who meditate on God’s wondrous works (vs 5)
Those who sing allowed of Your righteousness (vs 7)
He’s good to all and His mercy is over all that He has made (vs 9).
All His works give thanks to Him – We are His works, His redeeming of us is His work. We give thanks to Him as our LORD (vs 10).
We are His saints because of His blood shed for us (vs 10), so we bless the LORD.
We speak of the glory of Your kingdom, Lord. We tell of Your power (vs 11).
We tell our kids about Your awesome work in our lives.
HERE IS THE KICKER… “The LORD is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear HIm; He also hears their cry and saves them. The LORD preserves all who love Him, but all the wicked He will destroy. My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD, and let all flesh bless His holy name forever and ever” (Psalm 145:18-21).
That’s our part, to simply surrender to the power of our awesome God in His love and His grace, His favor as undeserved as it is. The more we admit how deeply undeserved this favor is, the more we are ready to RECEIVE HIS FAVOR AND SURRENDER TO HIS POWER, GIVING US HOPE FOR CHANGE AND HEARTS THAT MORE CONSISTENTLY WORSHIP THE LORD.
I couldn’t contain my joy at this realization. I know I’m amped up here, but I love how God gives us a way of escape! I grabbed my guitar and headed for the field. Out there, sitting on a piece of fire wood, I began strumming, and this song hit me hard. CLICK HERE for my favorite rendition of it. The artist, Shane, plays and sings through Psalm 145 beautifully. I just kept singing the chorus at higher and louder intervals. Then I’d back down to a low repetition of the chorus again and build back up. My heart was and is still full of faith for our county, particularly for the men.
Men, we must surrender. This morning I’m giving out small white pieces of cloth to each of the men at the Friday AM Bible study at Revive Cafe. We are all leaders in one way or another there, but occasionally one of us comes with a particular encouragement. This week of being apart from Carrie has helped me to remember vividly what a challenge it is for men who are single or in hard times in their marriage and are not finding sexual satisfaction in their bride. It also reminds me of how I can numb in my walk with God when things are cruising more smoothly. Wow, it’s true what they say that the test of poverty and need is easier in some ways than the test of prosperity and comfort – Lord, give us grace to pass both tests more consistently.
Men, we must rely on the LORD for our satisfaction and meaning. As we do this we will have courage to fight with His might instead of our own, and therefore He will get the credit instead of us striving for glory and big names for ourselves as individuals. We are nothing except for being HIS PEOPLE. We are worthless and more worthless the more we just strive to buck up and man up and build puny kingdoms here on earth.
What does the Gospel on the ground look like for us as men?
SURRENDER to the power of Christ’s death for us and life in us. May we become more aware of the Holy Spirit willing and working in our lives for His good pleasure. May we more quickly invite other men into our heart wrestlings and find hope for change. We are messed up. Let’s admit it. Not just in the area of lust. We are morally bankrupt apart for the finished work of Christ on the cross. We are worse than worthless. We will run headlong into our sin or numb our cravings with worthless pursuits and hobbies.
We must SURRENDER ALL and give into the awesome glory of our God together as men. As we surrender and CALL ON HIM, we will find grace to TURN from our sin and TURN TO our Savior more consistently.
Humility is the number one activity for us, friends. As we celebrate the power of GIVING IN TO GOD IN CHRIST, we find courage and we more easily unite with our brothers and sisters in Christ to KNOW HIM and to MAKE HIM KNOWN.
So grateful for our LORD and so grateful for each of you in my life.