Lord, I’m a Wimp

Dallas Willard’s book The Divine Conspiracy walks us through the Sermon on the Mount. I have been posting from time to time this summer on his book as I work my way through it again. I want to understand more fully the cost of discipleship.

The section he has on the Lord’s Prayer is helpful. This last part is great. “Lead us not into temptation” is basically a recognition that we just don’t do good in trials! We don’t withstand pressure very well and this part of the prayer is just an admission of it.

God expects us to pray that we will escape trials, and we should do it. The bad things that happen to us are always challenges to our faith, and we may not be able to stand up under them. They are dangerous. To know this, one has only to watch how quickly people begin to attack God when bad things start to happen to them.

We simply put too much confidence in our own “faith” at times! I actually think more highly of “my faith” when I don’t have a trial, but that’s beside the point. 😉

Just as we need to pray for daily provision of food, we need to take to God our awareness of our very own weakness… every day. We can begin to understand, then, that when trials come God has something in mind for us. He brings strength through trials, but it is HIS strength, not “our faith.”

Trials are not “joyful.” However, they are, at times, necessary. They DO yield the peaceful fruit of righteousness (Heb. 12:11).

But here is the thing: I am NOT GOOD at trials! And I need to acknowledge that every day. I just need to say, “Lord, you know I’m a wimp. If tough things have to happen you better be here!”

The Lord’s Prayer — “Forgive us our trespasses”

Dallas Willard’s thoughts on this particular part of the prayer get right to the point:

Today even many Christian read and say “forgive us our trespasses” as “give me a break.” In the typically late-twentieth century manner, this saves the ego and its egotism. “I am not a sinner, I just need a break!” But no, I need more than a break. I need pity because of who I am. I my pride is untouched when I pray for forgiveness, I have not prayed for forgiveness. I don’t even understand it.

We are still this way. We just don’t like to admit our condition. It is “offensive” in some way to discuss things as “sin.” It’s almost like we pray, “Could you help me get past this little quirk of mine?”

But we need pity. We need the incredible grace of God touching us as we feel the pain of our failure. We don’t need minor adjustments. We need a complete overhaul.