ODJ: Certain Goodness

April 4, 2016 

READ: Psalm 23:1-6 

Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever (v.6).

As my sister and I were growing up, our parents taught us about the love of Jesus and to enjoy intimate prayer with Him. As I grew older, sometimes life’s varied challenges pressed hard on me, and my prayers became requests based on need rather than tender dialogues with the One who delights in giving to His children (Matthew 7:11). In other words, my prayers were based on circumstances rather than on God’s character. Over time, I’ve learned to ask according not only to His will but also His goodness.

We embrace God’s sovereignty when we acknowledge Him as the Great “I Am” (Exodus 3:14). Our view of God, however, should also include His being the One who loves to give (Hebrews 11:6; James 1:17).

A spiritual cancer, jealousy can creep into our lives unannounced, root its way through our soul, and create havoc in its wake. Even a believer in Jesus isn’t immune to the temptation of envying someone else’s circumstances, relationships, or gifts.

James 4:2—3 teaches us the connection between our prayers, our hearts, and the answers we receive. Often we don’t have what we desire because we “don’t ask for it.” Or, if we do ask, we have the wrong motives. Both our failure to ask and our inappropriate asking stem from the same limited and marred view of God. Jealousy and self—promotion can flourish when we’re unconvinced of His goodness.

Psalm 23 beautifully exemplifies God as being both all—powerful and always good even when we “walk through the darkest valley” (v.4). We have “all [we] need” because we’re filled with His Spirit (v.1). Best of all, we can declare that His goodness will run after us, not just for eternity, but here and now (23:6, 27:13).

—Regina Franklin

365-day-plan: 2 Samuel 9:1-13

Read 1 John 3:14—24 and 5:1—15 and consider the relationship between our prayers and the purity of our motives, our love for others, and our heart for obeying God’s commandments. 
What are the hurdles you face when it comes to boldly approaching God in prayer? In what ways have you allowed your perceptions of your own worthiness to color your view of God’s goodness?