Passion Week Prayer Guide - Friday: Hands and Feet Motivated By The Gospel
Friday: Hands and Feet Motivated by the Gospel
EVERY HUMAN BEING HAS BEEN HARDWIRED BY GOD TO LIVE IN DAILY AWE OF HIM. THIS MEANS THE AWE OF GOD WAS DESIGNED TO BE THE DEEPEST, MOST LIFE-SHAPING PRACTICAL DAILY MOTIVATION OF EVERY HUMAN BEING. AWE OF GOD SHOULD IN SOME WAY MOTIVATE EVERYTHING I DO AND SAY. A HUMAN BEING NOT LIVING WITH FUNCTIONAL AWE OF GOD IS PROFOUNDLY DISADVANTAGED. HE IS OFF THE RAILS, TRYING TO PROPEL THE TRAIN OF HIS LIFE IN A MEADOW, AND HE MAY NOT EVEN KNOW IT. WHEN AWE OF GOD IS ABSENT, IT IS QUICKLY REPLACED BY AWE OF OURSELVES.
a. Read Isaiah 58:1-14
b. Social justice. Mercy ministries. Throughout the years of this “time between the times” the church has been engaged in many different arenas that make existence for the marginalized a little more tenable. Sometimes, the church’s focus deviates so much to the needs of the body, to social justice, that it loses the transcendence of the gospel. Sometimes, the church loses its connection to the body, and the gospel becomes nothing but a method of transcendence. The Bible does not let us dichotomize things so easily.
c. Imagine: God’s people not caring about the poor, not caring about corruption of systems, even oppressing their workers, fighting and quarrelling—and yet, expecting God to turn His face to them and to listen. This is scandalous.
d. Look at vv. 1-5. What strikes you about what the people are doing? Not doing? What they expect? Do you see any similarities with your behavior? Why or why not?
e. Look at vv. 6-7. Is this “spiritual” work listed here? Why or why not?
f. Look at vv. 8-12. What is God’s promise to His people if they are to do the works described in vv. 6-7? What strikes you about those rewards?
g. Look at vv. 13-14. What does God promise here? What must the people do? What strikes you about what God wants them to do and what the result will be?
“Jesus was often prompted by compassion to act on behalf of those who were suffering loss, disease, and hunger. It seems inevitable that those who follow Jesus must also show compassion in all of their decisions and actions. This is especially true of those who relate to people suffering hunger, disease, and death. The followers of Jesus cannot ignore the needy of the world, and neither can we look away from the needs of the world. Colossians 3:12 has provided a source of guidance and strength for my life for many years. ‘As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.’ To be chosen as God’s beloved can only evoke gratitude and goodness. Therefore our response of compassion for the world is really a response to God’s unqualified love for us. How could we respond in any other way? As God’s beloved, pray this week for you to see the needs around you and for compassion that will prompt actions to meet those needs with loving remedy." (Rueben P. Job)
a. Reflect on the Order of the gospel. First, God turns His beautiful face to us in Jesus in forgiveness (Ephesians 1:7) and then, we turn our face toward the church and the world in service (Galatians 6:10). The order matters—we must not forget that.
b. Reflect on the Beauty of the gospel. God’s gospel is not simply beautiful—it is beautifying. Have you noticed that? Those who turn their faces in meditation on the gospel and worship of the Lord Jesus become embodiments of the gospel of peace and justification before God. G.K. Chesterton said it well: “There is the great lesson of ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ that a thing must be loved before it is lovable.” We are loved in Christ before we are lovable, but through the divinely-initiated process of sanctification (Romans 6:19-22), we become more like our forerunner, Christ, love personified.
IV. The Lord’s Prayer
V. Ending Prayers
a. Confess—that you get the order wrong. Confess that you miss one (or even both!) of the prongs in the order. God turns his face to us—we turn our face to the world.
b. Pray—that God would give you more awe of Him and His grace. Pray that that awe would be effective and propulsive, that it would push you out of selfishness and sloth and sin into the world that He has called us to be in, but not of (John 17:6).
c. Praise—God that His gospel changes us from the inside out. Praise God that He gives us His Holy Spirit as a deposit guaranteeing our ultimate inheritance (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:14), as our Advocate and Helper (John 14:26), as our Sanctifier (Romans 15:15), and as the One Who reminds us of Jesus (John 14:26), the God-man Who showed us perfectly what it means to live in the world God has made, and empowers us to do it. For the same Spirit of resurrection power lives in us to make us alive in righteousness (Romans 8:10-11)!
Father God, it seems odd to me that you want me to delight in You. It seems strange that the way of justice is paved with delight in Your love for us. “Call the Sabbath a delight” seems to have nothing to do with “loosing the bonds of injustice.” And yet. Give me a heart that praises you, that sits in awe of you, that by my life I may bring more praise to your name! Thank you for Jesus! He is not only an example that we can look to—otherwise we would be crushed under the weight of greatness. He also gives us access to the power to do and be what He has called us to—so that we could live freely under His light burden, His light yoke. Give us the strength to live according to your word! Give us wisdom to do it well, in a way that brings glory and honor to Your name. Whatever we do, may it be done for Your glory (Colossians 3:17)! In Jesus’s beautiful, powerful, and saving name, Amen.