Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – September 15, 2016
By Tripp Prince
You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart…O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. Psalm 51:6, 15
Have you ever noticed how we are tempted towards extremes in life? We so often say “either/or” rather than “both/and.” We do this with food, entertainment, and social interactions, often struggling to find that elusive balance of discipline and indulgence, activity and pleasure, personal time and interaction with others. In our spiritual lives, the same temptation exists.
One of the greatest imbalances I see in the Christian life is the inability to maintain a vibrant personal faith and an intentional life of active praise and service. These are both faithful expressions of our Christian faith and are never meant to be an “either/or” choice. In fact, they are closely linked!
When we submit our lives, our wills, and our desires to the Lord, we open ourselves up to the Spirit’s internal renovation. He teaches us the way of wisdom within our innermost being, making us capable of knowing and loving him. This is why it is so important to find a regular rhythm of prayer and personal devotion. In these moments we encounter God’s love, forgiveness, and healing grace.
However, as we encounter God in the secret place, this renewal and renovation is only a part of the story. Our personal faith always has a public expression. As the psalmist says, the Lord opens our lips and renews our hearts so that we can declare his praises! This is the “both/and” of our faith. God wants to heal and renew your heart, but he also wants you to actively share his love and tell others of his goodness and faithfulness.
Personal faith without public praise is self-fulfilling, inverted, and anemic. Public praise without the renewing work of the Spirit is a form of moral striving and will always lead to exhaustion and burn out.
Often we more naturally gravitate to one of these extremes. Personal time with the Lord in prayer and study may come quite naturally to you and be a source of great encouragement. If that’s you, perhaps the Lord is challenging you today to grow in your life of praise and intentional service to others. Likewise, you may be wired with a heart to serve, always looking for ways to meet the needs of others or get involved with activities in the life of your church community. If that’s you, take time to ensure that your service is fueled and inspired by meaningful and intentional times of prayer where you encounter God in your inner being.
This “both/and” vision is the way of wisdom and keeps us on the path towards faithful Christian living!
PrayerFather, as you renew our hearts with your love and grace, may we always respond with faithful living, intentional service, and bold witness.
ApplicationAs you reflect on your own life, how do you maintain a well-balanced faith that is both personal and public?
Related ReadingIsaiah 40:31; 2 Corinthians 4:16; Colossians 3:9-10
Post/Tweet todayWhen we submit our lives, our wills, and our desires to the Lord, we open ourselves up to the Spirit’s internal renovation. #balancedfaith #wisdomhunters
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