Summer ought to be a season when we’re able to rest well—a time we can spend with the Lord and His goodness. But, oftentimes, we actually fall out of healthy spiritual habits and end up trying to rest from the Lord instead of resting in Him.
That’s why we’ve created the Summer Selah Series. Over 40 days, we’ll be sharing daily devotions during a season where you may not feel very devoted.
Based on excerpts from his book Selah: Devotions From The Psalms For Those Who Struggle With Devotion, Ross Lester, our Pastor of Preaching and West Congregation Pastor, will provide readings from select Psalms, a brief devotional reflection, and some prayer points for each of the 40 days.
Take some time to read Psalm 109—warning, it’s a tricky one. Then, come back and read the following verse again.
“In return for my love they accuse me,
but I give myself to prayer.” (Psalm 109:4 ESV)
Nothing stings quite so much in this life as discovering that friends have laid false accusations against you. That people who you know and love, and who you thought loved you, have been saying unfair and untrue things about you all the while keeping up the façade of friendship. It really stings when that happens. David knew the scenario well and he wrote about the depths of the agony he felt as a result in Psalm 109. It is a disturbing Psalm in many ways, if you read the whole thing, as David prays for bad things to happen to the person who falsely accuses him. It doesn’t seem to compute with the grace that Christ bestows on us, and maybe that’s the point. Maybe it is meant to serve as a juxtaposition between how Christ treats His enemies and how we want to treat ours.
But David does say something amazing in verse 4 that has really helped me recently. He says that the best response to an attack on one’s identity is to pray. That is a brilliant piece of advice. It is a great reminder that we live for an audience of one and that what God thinks of us is much more important than what anyone else thinks. We are so desperate to be loved that we will automatically move to publicly defend ourselves from any type of potential rejection. But by going straight to prayer, we declare that our identity is rooted and established in God and that He gets to make the calls on who we are.
Just the other day I had a situation where I felt that I should publicly defend my reputation. At the root of it was pride though, and so I went to the most humbling place, which is on my knees before the Almighty. When I emerged, it really didn’t matter what anyone else thought or said, because I knew how much I was loved by the only one that really matters.
Next time your identity and reputation is on the line, be a man or woman of prayer. It is counterintuitive, but it brings joy and freedom.
Father God, teach me to be someone who is so confident in You that I don’t place my identity in the treatment that I receive from other people. Forgive me for the ways that I place more value on the approval of man than I do on Your approval of who I am. Help me Lord.
Ross Lester, Selah: Devotions From The Psalms For Those Who Struggle With Devotion (Magnolia, Texas: Lucid Books, 2017)