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Life-born applications

17 Sep

I know that practical, real, personal, life-born messages are the most effective way to preach, but as my friend Dr. Jerry Root used to say, I’d just as soon learn vicariously from someone else once in a while. Yet once again, I find myself having to practice what I preach and live out the message before I deliver it.

This week I am preaching on Matthew 5:5, “Blessed on the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” Since this is a quote from Psalm 37:11, I spent the week studying the psalm in order to understand the background of this Beatitude. As I discovered, Psalm 37 provides a profile of a meek person, or what meekness looks like in real life. Here’s a chart that summarizes what I learned:

Verse

What meek people do

What meek people receive

1-2

Don’t play the comparison game

New perspective

3

Trust in the Lord

Safety and security

4

Find their joy in God

Satisfaction

5-6

Follow God’s plan

Righteous life

7-8

Wait patiently, rather than taking matters into their own hands

Avoid evil

9-11

Wait for God’s timing

God’s promises

I summarized the main idea of my message with this phrase, “Those who ratchet back their anxiety and aggression and trust God to work in his time will receive his promises.” While I can explain and apply the principle to the people in my congregation, it is much harder to put into practice in my own life.

At the same time I was preparing this message, I was wrestling with patience. For the past several weeks, I have waited for an organization to send me some information concerning a certain issue. I had been told I would hear from them “soon.” I had been praying that God would guide me and them regarding the matter. And yet, I was still waiting by the phone (figuratively speaking). Rather than waiting meekly, I found myself worrying and making up my own explanation for the delay. Rather than being patient, I sent my contact a note asking for an update. Rather than trusting God’s plan, I wanted to take matters into my own hands and try to force a decision.

As hard as it may be, I have to take my own medicine and ratchet back my anxiety and aggression and trust God to work in his time. Then, and only then, will I receive what he desires to give me.

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2008 in Personal growth, Preaching

 

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