Saturday, June 16, 2012

"O Lord, command what you will and give what you command" — St. Augustine

"O Lord, command what you will and give what you command" St. Augustine

“The Bible teaches two things: Many of the blessings of God are conditional upon our response of faith, and God Himself ultimately enables that response of faith and obedience.

Therefore, we pray to God for the enablement of what He calls us to do and what He calls others to do. In fact this is exactly why prayer is necessary. Only God can do what needs to be done. We are so sinful and so rebellious and so hard and resistant that if we are left to ourselves, we will carry on exactly as the people did in 2 Chronicles 30:10, with 'scorn and mockery.'…

It is knowing that we must work out our salvation in such efforts, and that this effort is a gift of God's grace, that keeps us constant in our praying for enabling grace, & vigorous in our working (Philippians 2:12-13). How else could we say with the apostle Paul, “By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me”? (1 Corinthians 15:10). I worked hard, but it was not I. That is what 2 Chronicles (30:6-9 & 30:10-12) and Augustine want us to learn.

Prayer: Lord, I pray that You would fill us with hope and joy and expectation that You have the power to put Your hand on us, and grant us the will to do what You command. You have made it plain: We are responsible to do what You tell us to do. But we know that in ourselves we do not have the will to do it. And so we cry with Augustine, 'Lord, command what You will, and give what You command.' Leave us not to ourselves. Have mercy. In Jesus' name, Amen.”

— John Piper, Life as a vapor

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