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Insincere Humility

September 12, 2017

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,” (1 Tim. 2:1, ESV).

One of the topics of 1 Timothy 2, is prayer. Let us examine a bit more on prayer from Jeremiah.

After the Babylonians had destroyed Jerusalem, a remnant was left in Israel. This remnant asked Jeremiah to pray for them, that God would show them, “the way we should go, and the thing that we should do,” (Jer. 42:3). They also said, “May the LORD be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act according to all the word with which the LORD your God sends you to us,” (Jer. 42:5). All of this sounds so good.

In the next chapter, however, we discover a very different response from these people when Jeremiah tells them something they did not want to hear. You see, the people sounded like they would go wherever God commanded them to go. However, God told them to stay in the land of Israel, and submit to the government of the Babylonians. The people did not want to hear this. Instead of saying, “Your will be done Lord,” they say, “You are telling a lie. The LORD our God did not send you…” (Jer. 43:2). In the end, the people end up going to Egypt, precisely where God told them not to go, and end up being destroyed there. We can learn some lessons from this.

Often, we can think that we truly want God’s will and God’s will alone. We can find ourselves saying, “God, do whatever you desire in my life. I will obey whatever your will is for my life.” But, as soon as God sovereignly guides us a direction we do not want to go, or we discover that God’s will in His Word is different than our desire, we rebel against Him and say, “No! This can’t be God’s will because it isn’t what I want!” Or we can say, “This can’t be God’s Word because it doesn’t fit with what I think!” The entire time our prayer, “We will obey the voice of the LORD our God” (Jer. 42:6) is insincere humility.

We must remember that our hearts are sinful. Just because we may verbally say to someone else, or in prayer, that we only want God’s will for us, we must remember that the wickedness of our hearts can very often make this insincere. Our hearts want our way, not God’s way. This means that when we pray, we cannot assume that we will want to do God’s will. We cannot assume that no matter what we find in Scripture, we will humbly bow before it. Without the might power of God working in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, even the most clear text of Scripture can be twisted so that it fits our own desires and thoughts. This means that we must be more honest in our prayers. We must pray, “God, my will is to do my will, not yours. My desire is to do the things that I desire to do, and sometimes those desires are not the same as your will for my life. Change me God. Change my heart. Cause me by your Holy Spirit to desire to do your will and your will alone. Create a humble spirit within me, that will truly desire to accomplish your will alone. Cause me to submit to your plan for my life. A plan that is told to me in the Scriptures, and is brought into my life by your loving and sovereign hand.” The prayer, “I will obey you, wherever you tell me to go, and whatever you tell me I should do,” is a fantastic prayer. However, we must keep in mind that we are just as capable as the remnant of Israel in praying this prayer and then saying, “You are telling lies,” when the will of God, and the Word of God, come back and do not fit our desires.

May we pray that God change us, and humble us before His Holy will. May we pray that we not have a false confidence that we will always desire to do God’s will. May God overcome our sinful hearts and create in us a true desire to do His Holy will, as our sinful hearts are crucified and we are conformed into the image of the only One who has, with pure sincerity, prayed, “Thy will be done.”

From → Miscellaneous

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