Based in St. Cloud, Minnesota, Growing in Grace is a blog by Pastor Matthew Molesky. His posts explore the Bible, theology, ecclesiology, culture, books, family, and life.

You Have Been Freed

How long, Yahweh? Will you forget me forever? 

How long will you hide your face from me? 

How long must I wrestle with my thoughts

and day after day have sorrow in my heart? 

Look on me and answer, Yahweh my God. 

Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death... 

But I trust in your unfailing love; 

my heart rejoices in your salvation. 

I will sing Yahweh's praise, 

for he has been good to me. (Portions of Psalm 13, NIV)

Don't miss what David just said there in the beginning of this prayer. It is so very human of him. Day after day David finds himself wrestling with his own thoughts. They plague him, spinning out of control, tinged with darkness, stained with the auroral flare of anxiety. And his experience reveals the connection between mind and heart, thoughts and emotions. For his daily thoughts plant seeds in his heart that have grown into sorrows so extensive and weighty that he believes Yahweh himself must have forgotten him. Yahweh must not even be watching anymore.

"Don't leave me here, Yahweh. LOOK at me! Please! Restore the twinkle in my eyes, or I shall sleep a slumber from which I will never awake."

It's that bad.

We are familiar with this, are we not? We too feel the effects of a negative thought life that at times spirals out of control. How often have you thought badly about yourself? How often have you constantly spewed negative speech inside the auditorium of your mind, with the sound system maxed out? Or what is the content of the audio loop running between your ears?

The moment after I read this Psalm this morning, I turned my attention to Paul Tripp's tome, New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional. I found that Tripp spoke similarly to David in his morning meditation, and new understanding dawned on me. 

Preaching the good news to yourself functions similarly to those Bose noise-canceling headphones. You know how those work, yes? My non-expert understanding is that they find the frequency at which sounds are coming toward you, and then match that frequency exactly, which cancels out the external noise you are hearing, so you can listen to what you really want to. 

And that is how good news declarations work - they smack up against your anti-gospel speech, cancel it out, so you can hear what is good and true. So for all of us strugglers who find ourselves easily relating to David, listen up to some Tripp good news audio tracks.

It is an intensely human endeavor. It is the quest we all pursue. We all want to feel good about ourselves. We all want to think that we are okay. It is a fearful and anxious quest from which only grace can free you.
Here's what happens to us all--we seek horizontally for the personal rest that we are to find vertically, and it never works. Looking to others for your inner sense of well-being is pointless. First, you will never be good enough, consistently enough, to get the regular praise of others that you are seeking. You are going to mess up. You're bound to disappoint. You will have a bad day. You'll lose your way. At some point, you'll say or do things that you shouldn't. Add to this the fact that the people around you aren't typically interested in taking on the burden of being your personal messiah. They don't want to live with the responsibility of having your identity in their hands. Looking to people for your inner self-worth never works.
The peace that success gives is unreliable as well. Since you are less than perfect, whatever success you are able to achieve will soon be followed by failure of some kind. Then there is the fact that the buzz of success is short-lived. It isn't long before you're searching for the next success to keep you going. 
That's why the reality that Jesus has become your righteousness is so precious.
His grace has forever freed us from needing to prove our righteousness and worth. So we remind ourselves every day not to search horizontally for what we've already been given vertically. "And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever" (Is. 32:17). That righteousness is found in Jesus alone.

Friend, that is a soundtrack worth listening to — set it on a repeat loop and never turn it off!

But I trust in your unfailing love; 

my heart rejoices in your salvation. 

I will sing Yahweh's praise, 

for he has been good to me!

The Heart of Christ

Riva

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