Time To Praise

“Unseal my lips, O Lord, that my mouth may praise you.”
 – Psalms 51:15
In one of our recent Men’s Study Group, a pastor of a church confessed his longtime struggle with pornogrophy.  To him, it is a battle that he has to fight everyday . . . but, he had a battle plan that provided him a successful strategy for his struggle.
Paul reminded us that we are all susceptible to a struggle with selfish flesh.  In his letter to the faithful of Corinth he wrote, “but by the grace of God, I am what I am.” (1 Cor 15:10)  For some it may be the pseudo-intimacy of pornography.  For others, it may be the elusive power of control, the unending search for significance, or the unsatisfying longing for comfort.  We have forgiveness of sin because of the blood of Christ . . . but, we still fight the fleshiness of self.
The psalmist king discovered that praise was a powerful step in his fight with the formidable flesh.  His lips were unsealed to praise (Ps 51:15) only when he trusted the Trustworthy One with a broken heart and spirit.
Recognition.  David recognized the power of misplaced power, passion and pleasure.  He acknowledged his need, “Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins.” (Ps 51:1)  David’s rule for self was rebellion to God’s rule.  He writes, “For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night.” (Ps 51:3)  Admitting the grip of our flesh starts with applying His grace through faith.
Repentance.  We can quickly fall into a “negotiation” with God over our weaknesses.  David reminds us, “You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.” (Ps 51:16-17)  Spurgeon wrote, “There is no repentance where a man can talk lightly of sin, much less where he can speak tenderly and lovingly of it.”  Call it what it is and give it up.
Restoration.  David understood the joy of a restorative relationship with God, “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. Then I will teach Your ways to rebels, and they will return to You.” (Ps 51:12-13. Here’s some more joy . . . Paul reminds us that there “no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.”  (Rom 8:1).  Our relationship with Christ is not just about personal restoration . . . but, perpetuating that restoration to others.  The condemned are longing for His compassion.
Rebuilding.  “Look with favor on Zion and help her; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.” (Ps 51:18)  Just as God would rebuild Jerusalem, He rebuilds our lives.  Paul again reminds us of God’s rebuilding, reestablishing, and renewing grace, “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me”. (2 Cor 12:9)
David’s lips were unsealed and his mouth was opened to praise because of his penance.  Timothy Keller wrote, “Rejoicing and repentance must go together. Repentance without rejoicing will lead to despair. Rejoicing without repentance is shallow and will only provide passing inspiration instead of deep change.”
May our lips be unsealed and our hearts unashamed.

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