Friday, July 4, 2008

God's Blessed Boundaries

There's nothing like early morning at the lake. I didn't plan on getting up at 5, but now that I'm up I'm thankful. I'm also trying to be as quiet as I can so the other 15 people (and 1 dog) can sleep. I went out on the dock awhile ago to watch the mist rise and now am sitting where I can see the pale pinkish orange sheen on the water. The sun will be up soon.

Before bed I looked at Matthew 4. It reminds me of other verses. From Hebrews 4, Jesus was tempted as we are, yet without sin and from Psalm 19 my boundaries enclose a pleasant land.

I remember years ago someone asked whether it's harder to know God's will or to do it. The devil can work either way, confusing us as to what God wants _and_ at the same time, telling us it's okay to get more. And there is no area of life that the devil doesn't attack.

(The sun has just poked over the horizon - 5:33 a.m. - what a transformation!)

The three temptations might be summarized as "appetite," "fear," and "power." The first is physical desires that go beyond God's good plan - it was God's plan to provide for Jesus' time in the wilderness. Fear makes us unwilling to trust God. The devil would have us only trust those promises we ourselves have already tested. The third temptation would bypass God's glorious way of saving sinners - a plan that would first lead to humiliation and the cross.

In so many ways I am tempted every day. I want to go beyond the boundaries God has set. My appetites know no natural limit - if I conquer one another rises. Instead of accepting the quiet assurances that God will never leave nor forsake me in the next days and years, I retreat to the familar past. And I do not want humiliation or suffering even when I preach the outcome of faith - resurrection and blessing forevermore.

We're approaching a boundary - the end of vacation will come in about 24 hours. I pray that we might all trust that even that boundary is set by the Lord, and that He wants to bless us as we live within his plan.

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