Connecting with God 3 — Continuity and CynicismAugust 12, 2020 / Hudson View Baptist Church
CONNECTING WITH GOD
Continuity and Cynicism
Psalm 63:1 O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;
-Our hearts are constantly looking for a true place of because we dwell in and tend toward a dry and thirsty land.
-Our dry and thirsty land can be externally influenced and internally produced.
*Prayer directs your energy toward God Himself, not the around you and in you.
-Continuous prayer is not learned, it is born out of the necessity of neediness.
-When we realize we cannot help ourselves, flows naturally.
-Consider Jesus: He introduced us to the term of dependence, Abba, when He continually prayed to His Heavenly Father.
–Abba = Papa; i.e. endeared dependence…Jesus demonstrated an atypical and intimate way of approaching the Father (age 12, Lord’s Prayer, Gethsemane, from the cross)
-When we realize that we cure ourselves or the world around us, we cry out to the Father Who can.
*Poverty of spirit is the door to prayer.
*A praying life isn’t simply a morning prayer time; it is about slipping into prayer at odd hours of the day, not because we are disciplined but because we are in touch with our own poverty of spirit—realizing we cannot do anything without the of God.
Walking with a
-While anxiety can pull us from dependence upon the Lord, it can also be a springboard to bending our hearts toward God.
-This kind of surrender takes the form of often-uttered, quick, and sometimes wordless prayers that keep our lean toward the One Who can do something about the issue.
-Psalm 131 helps us to lean: Lord, my heart is not haughty (arrogant), nor mine eyes lofty (raised too high): neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me. Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child. Let Israel hope in the Lord from henceforth and for ever.
-We need to assume a posture of leaning on the Lord as a rests in his/her mother.
*Continuous prayer clings to the Father in the face of chaos. (Phil. 4:6-7)
Cynicism Always Gets in the Way of Leaning
-Cynicism: an inclination to question whether something will happen or whether it is worthwhile;
i.e. It would have happened anyway or Will praying make any difference?
-Cynicism questions the active of God on our behalf.
-Satan’s tactic: dulling your soul to the point of numbness with doubt
-Genesis 3:5 “God has not been honest…”
-Cynicism causes us to be and allows bitterness to creep in.
-Ultimately, when you add prayer on top of cynicism, it feels phony.
Following Jesus Out of Cynicism
-Jesus offers 5 Cures for cynicism:
1. Be Warm but Wary (Matt. 10:16-7, 31)
Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men…Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.
-We need to combine a robust in the Good Shepherd with a vigilance about the presence of evil in our own hearts and in the hearts of others.
-The praying life is one of cautious optimism—caution because of the Fall, optimism because of redemption.
2. Learn to Again
-Cynicism kills hope because we don’t want to set ourselves or God up for failure.
-Often Jesus preceded His work in a person’s life with phrases like, Weep not or Do not fear; only believe, etc.
-Hope with the heart of God. As you grasp what the Father’s heart is like, how He loves to give, then prayer will begin to feel completely natural to you.
-Disney is partially right—there are happy endings, but it is only when our good God intrudes into an evil world. (Rev. 21:5)
3. Cultivate a Childlike Spirit
-Children generally have no shame in asking for what they want or need–out for grace like a hungry child!
-You are in the battle of your life and God is your only Deliverer—approach Him like that!
-There is no room for disengagement in the Christian life.
-You cannot do life on your own…when you the Good Shepherd, you find yourself alone and defeated. (Psalm 23)
4. Cultivate a Heart of Repentance
-There is often a fracture between our heart and our behavior.
-When our heart is out of tune with God, it overestimates its goodness and, in turn, devalues the need for dependence upon God.
-This self-reliance leads to a split personality of sorts. (James 4:8)
-An assessment of self (as a sinner in need of God’s mercy) produces the fellowship with God that He designed us to have.
5. Cultivate a Thankful Spirit
-In your prayer time, get into the habit of letting your mind drift through the previous day and God at work.
-You’ll begin to realize that your whole life is a gift from God.
-At least 12 times in his writings, Paul intentionally thanks God for His goodness.
-There is room for gratitude to God in circumstance of life (Phil. 4:6; Col. 4:2; 1 Thess. 5:18)
-Thanksgiving looks reality in the face and rejoices at God’s care.
*Based on A Praying Life by Paul E. Miller