The Daily Office: Day 4- Bullseye
Silence for 2-5 minutes:
If your mind wanders, silently pray a simple prayer again and again, such as, "I surrender to your love" or "Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me" until the Holy Spirit gives you a sense of peace and focus.
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
Psalm 1 states that we are to delight in the law of the Lord and meditate upon His law day and night. The Hebrew word for law is Torah. The Torah is literally the first five books of the Old Testament, but the word Torah comes from an archery term, meaning to "hit the mark." I think this is instructive. We can be confident that God's word always hits the mark in our lives. When God shoots the arrow of His at our hearts, it is always a bullseye.
Juxtapose, God's word that always hits the mark with my life that seems to be continually missing the target. Paul states emphatically, "For all have sinned and fallen short (missed the mark) of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) This verse shows my great need for Christ's righteousness to be imputed to my life. Because of Jesus, I stand before my Father as a son, accepted, loved, and unafraid because of perfect love. It also shows the ordinary trajectory of my life and my imperfect walk. I rarely feel that I get things just right. I'm getting closer, because of God's grace and the work of the Holy Spirit, but I'm still missing the mark.
The well-known and often prayed confession in the Book of Common prayer recognizes the realities and frailties of the human condition. Within the words of the prayer is the realization that regardless of how much I grow into the character of Christ, there are things that I should have done and other things that I should have left undone.
As I try to love God with my whole heart, somehow, I am quite adept at avoiding absolute surrender to the Lord. Grace gives freedom from condemnation and fear, and joy in my sonship, but it also calls me to a vulnerable humility. Everyone, especially me, is missing the mark.
The words from God that seem to undress me and undo me are the words that bring forth repentance and, ultimately, transformation. I can either hide behind my own self-righteousness or make myself a target for the arrows of divine love.
Questions/Actions to Take:
Are you hiding any part of your life from "the arrows of divine love? Confess to the Lord, where you are missing the mark. Remember, He already knows what you are confessing, and He cannot love you more and will never love you less.
The following is a prayer of confession from the Book of Common Prayer.
Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.
Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us all our sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen us in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep us in eternal life. Amen.