Not long ago, while praying, I found myself wandering all over the place. I was avoiding the reason I was on my knees. I needed forgiveness. I did not want to confess, once again, that I had sinned. But we cannot be forgiven without confession. So, the confession was done and forgiveness granted, again. How tiresome and discouraging it is having to return, over and over, asking for mercy and grace.
My words are often sarcastic, angry, critical, lying, prideful, hurtful, and sometimes even hateful. I look at the world and all it has to offer and I roam around in it. I can be influenced by those who seem to “have it all” and deceived by those with the “power of persuasion”. I see all their pretty things and hear their lovely words and I want to be a part of it. Sin, plain and simple, but complex and ugly, too.
We are assured that our sins are forgiven, and more than forgiven, they are erased. We may still have the consequences of our actions and we, along with others, may always remember, but God forgives the sins and lets them go.
For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more.
Hebrews 8:12 NIV
Knowing that God wants us to lead lives of victory and that He does not leave us to our own devices but has given us a life manual for our instruction and education, I went to His Word. I asked, “What am I missing that I need to know to help me overcome and be victorious on my battlefields?” Of course, I am not the first person to wonder this. David was a man who struggled with sin. He asked the Lord to forgive him and he took another step and asked His help.
Take control of what I say, O Lord, and guard my lips.
Don’t let me drift toward evil or take part in acts of wickedness.
Don’t let me share in the delicacies of those who do wrong.
Psalm 141:3-4 NLT
There is the answer to my question. If when I speak, I first look to the One who has watch over my mouth my words will be encouraging, kind, thoughtful, compassionate, humble, sweet to hear. And if I use God’s compass when roaming the world I will not be adrift. I will have sure direction and purpose. I will not be deceived by what is fake and untrue. I will know that I cannot share the fine things of those who do wrong and be innocent of wrongdoing myself.
I look to you for help, O Sovereign Lord.
You are my refuge; don’t let them kill me.
Keep me from the traps they have set for me,
from the snares of those who do wrong.
Let the wicked fall in their own nets, but let me escape.
Psalm 141:8-10 NLT
There will be the traps and snares of those who do wrong, and some of my own making, but there is One who saves us from them. His sanctuary is the fortress on the battlefield. It is a place that evil cannot enter. Yet all we have to do is ask and we are saved.
So, like David, I turn to God who in His mercy has given us His Word to help us on our journey and ask His help.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God,
who gives generously to all without reproach,
and it will be given him.
James 1:5 ESV