Week 7 Hope and Anticipate
He Withholds No Good Thing
For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you.
Psalm 84:11-12 NIV
e tend to skip over Scripture passages that ask us to be blameless. We know we are unable to obey God perfectly, and the danger in this knowledge is that we may use it to excuse a “what’s the use” attitude. We balk when faced with a challenge to strive toward the ideal our Lord commanded in Matthew 5:48: “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
The miracle is that God has done what we could not; He has accomplished perfection for us through Christ. Because of Jesus, our sole challenge is to put self-will out of the way and relax into the love that has saved us. Matthew Henry says, “God makes those holy whom he saves.”[i] The work is the Lord’s and not ours, and so we have only to place ourselves in the path of the blessing, not conjure it for ourselves.
We are works in progress, and the completion of the work will not occur until we are glorified in Him. However, the fact that complete perfection can’t be attained until the physical body has died does not release us from responsibility today; we are accountable before the Lord to begin the perfection process now. Perfection is not a goal to be attained; it is a path to travel. We must strive to keep as closely as we can to the perfection path, trusting that on this road forged by Christ’s blood we will be led to the perfection He requires. We will certainly never arrive at our destination unless we walk the path He has provided, and that is why it is important—vital—that we try. This trying doesn’t look like any other goal seeking effort we carry out in the flesh; it is a falling back rather than a striving forward, a release more than anything to grasp. Appropriating God’s best blessings comes through giving way to His will rather than working hard to achieve goals of our own making.
The roadblock to obedience comes in the area of human willfulness. How often we respond to the Lord with behaviors resembling those of cranky children who will not obey parental requests, even those that are for their own good. The truth is that none of us (adult or child) like being told what to do. But if we believe in the Lord's goodness and wisdom, it should be apparent that it is in our own best interests to obey Him. The Scripture passage that introduces this reading says that the Lord withholds no good thing from those whose walk is blameless. This would seem to disqualify all of us from the Lord's good things! But the very next verse clarifies what constitutes righteousness in God's eyes: "...blessed is the one who trusts in You."
If we trust Him, we will obey Him.
Obedience requires a willingness to be God-directed rather than self-directed. As we succumb to His influence in our moment-by-moment decisions, we attain His perfection path.
Pray: Dear Lord, show me how to obey when I am in pain. Show me how to obey when I am in grief. Show me how to obey when I feel tired and weak, and show me how to be free of the willfulness that rebels against pushing through obstacles in order to be obedient. Please forgive me for the ways my disobedience has caused harm to Your heart and Your children; please heal the wounds I've caused and allow me the privilege of being a part of the healing process. I trust You, help me to trust You more. Grant me the joy of obedience, in Jesus' Name I pray.
Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
1 Peter 1:13-16 NIV