Faith and Honest Devotion

It’s better to be honest than to pretend we’re better than we are. It’s the only way to grow in faith.

Posted in , Mar 28, 2012

Daily Devotionals blogger Julia Attaway

In the church my family attends, we read the passion narrative on Palm Sunday. We read it from start to finish, with various people assigned speaking roles.

It’s not a performance, just Scripture proclaimed in different voices: Jesus, Pilate, Peter. The congregation is given the part of being the crowd. We’re the ones who cry out, “Crucify him!”

Frankly, it’s a bit awkward. I mean, I don’t want to seem lackluster or disinterested when demanding, “Release Barabbas!”... but then again, it wouldn’t do to sound overly enthusiastic. And I love that awkwardness. I love it because it makes me face the fact that on some days, some portion of my worship isn’t worship. It’s posturing. I’m aware of my audience, and it’s not entirely God.

None of us like to admit that our prayers are sometimes in part crafted for the ears around us. We’d like to gloss over the truth that our kindness and generosity may be influenced by a desire to be thought of as good Christians. But though we wince to admit that we’re not 100% God-directed, it’s better to be honest than to pretend we’re better than we are. It’s the only way to grow in faith.

While we’re facing facts, here’s another one to ponder: Everything we do in this imperfect life will come from mixed motives. That tells us the appropriate response to discovering we have a split devotional focus isn’t shame, but prayer. Prayer as in:

Lord, draw my heart away from the rewards of this world and focus it fully on you.
Father, help me think less of what others think, and seek to please you only.
Jesus, show me where my weaknesses lie—and help me grow stronger in love.

We can’t overcome human nature alone. The only way to grow closer to God is with his help.

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