October 13, 2015
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 13 October 2015
Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins; let them not rule over me; then I will be blameless, and I shall be acquitted of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer (Ps 19:13-14).
To live as if our days are certain would be presumptuous, yet to live with the hope of eternal life is not. While the believer in Jesus Christ has "the hope [certainty] of eternal life" (Tit 1:2), our earthly lives are not as definite. We are told to eat healthy, exercise regularly, and find time for rest, and yet our soul could be required of us this very day (cf. Luke 12:20).
Some soldiers discuss whether there is a bullet with one’s name on it, which means that zero preventive measures can be taken, and thus people take risks and live their lives to the fullest. Others who have survived combat will report that they are cautious to minimize unnecessary risks. Many who travel frequently know to be alert to surrounding traffic, and to be certain that vehicles are serviced regularly. To minimize risk is be aware of potential hazards and to act wisely. Once we identify the risks in life, only the most foolish and insensible would ignore them.
How can a Christian thrive in the midst of life pressures, in addition to the challenges of relationships and responsibilities? If we are to decrease the likelihood that we succumb to temptation and become a spiritual “shipwreck” (1 Tim 1:19), we must be proactive by adopting certain disciplines: daily time in prayer and with the Word of God. We must daily confess our sins and declare our entire dependence upon the Lord God. We must guard our thought life because our actions are often rehearsed in our minds, and we merely act based upon what we have envisioned.
You do well to recognize that “sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it” (Gen 4:7). We must “be of sober spirit, [and] be on the alert” because “the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Pet 5:8). We would be incredibly foolish to live without circumspection. “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall” (1 Cor 10:12).
While taking a respite from his military career to enjoy the benefits of his labor, King David was unprepared for the sight he would behold from his rooftop. While she was engaged in her nightly routine, and because David had not guarded his heart and mind, Bathsheba fell prey to the king’s temptation (cf. 1 Sam 11). I will always remember my wife encouraging me to teach Song of Solomon for its instruction regarding marriage, and remarking that the intimacy portions would possibly be awkward for an older couple who joined us for Bible study. Wrong was I, so very mistaken. None are immune, or old enough to be unaffected by temptation in any given realm. As long as we are not “absent from the body,” we have the potential to commit grave mistakes and even to do “evil in the sight of the Lord.”
Sadly, we know the tragedy of someone falling asleep at the steering wheel. With misfortune and ruin, some Christians go to sleep in their manner of living. Therefore, the Bible tells us, “so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober” (1 Thess 5:6). The Message Bible refers to sins of presumption as “stupid sins.” Certainly, it would be presumptuous not to observe the limits of what God permits or what He deems beneficial (cf. 1 Cor 10:23). God’s Word, the Holy Bible, has a preserving effect upon the hearts and minds of those who hear and heed it. May we all pray for ourselves, our loved ones, and for “all who are in authority” that the Holy Spirit will apply the Word of God to our lives (and theirs) so that “the words of [our] mouth [and theirs] and the meditation of [our] heart [and theirs]” is pleasing before God’s all-knowing gaze.
Missionary Pastor to Georgia's Leaders,
Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Capitol Commission Georgia