Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Pastoralia: Delight

Pastoralia: Things having relation to spiritual care or guidance; the duties of a pastor.
Oxford English Dictionary

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Most merciful God, I confess that I have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what I have done, and by what I have left undone. I have not loved you with my whole heart; I have not loved my neighbors as myself. I am truly sorry. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on me and forgive me; that I may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.
I'm looking at my prayer of confession once again. This time I want to consider the point of the mercy and forgiveness that I request. This is a part of the prayer that consistently stands out to me.

... that I may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name.

What I want from the Father in this prayer of confession is not merely a clean slate. I do want that but not as an end in itself. I want that so that I can have something more important: change. I want to be changed so that I don't sin any more. The key to this change is something that happens deep in the soul: delight. I want to delight in the will of God for my life. I want to embrace what God calls me to, to yearn to do whatever He wants and that from a heart filled with delight in Him and His will for me. That is so different from just avoiding some sin. And this inward change must occur before there is any outward change. This delight precedes my being able to walk in His ways instead of sinning. Inward change, then outward change. And this by the grace of God.

And what is the ultimate goal of all of this change? I ask for these things not first for my benefit. Oh, I do benefit from all of this, but that isn't the goal of it all. The goal is to live to the glory of His name. Or to translate those church words, that my life would make Him look as good as He really is. That after all, is the purpose of life for us all: to make my God look good. And that is the real point of this prayer of confession.

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