Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Righteous vs. Wicked

I read some of Proverbs today, and reflecting on the contrasts it provides.
Primarily: Fool vs. wise man and Righteous vs. Wicked.

As I read through the descriptions of the "wicked" man, I feel fairly confident that that's not me! But does that mean since I'm not "wicked" therefore I am "righteous"? Is it one or the other? Can we be both? Is there somewhere in between.

This year I have been trying to focus on prayer. What is it? How do I do it? Is it effective? etc... A challenging thought for me has been found in James 5:16 - "The prayers of a righteous man accomplishes much" (other versions..."are powerful and effective")

I know that during our time on Earth, we never will "arrive" at completeness spiritually, but I feel like I've barely begun the journey, and question whether I am righteous (ever), whether my prayers are effective. Ironically, I know that they are, as I've clearly seen God's hand guiding my life, and have received answers to prayer, and have grown in my faith.

James 1:5-8 speaks to this as well:
5If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

I admit that I sometimes buy into the lie and gnawing doubts. I hear the voice in my head "Maybe I shouldn't even bother praying. I'm not sure it's effective, and since I have doubts, that passage in James says nothing will happen because I'm double-minded."

I've been encouraged though by the men's leadership team at church to remember that I cannot improve myself. I cannot pull myself up by my own boot straps, and just get more faith. I have to ask God for that. Which means I have to pray.

So despite the lying whispers, the fears of failure, the foolish thinking of "Is my faith enough?", I am trying to persist in prayer.
God, enlarge my faith. Give me eyes to hear, and ears to hear what you would have me know of you.