It’s hard to make lasting changes without our hearts being humbled first. God gives grace for change to those who humble themselves and acknowledge their need.
“Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace for a timely help.” (Gal 4:16)
It seems almost ironic the reference to “timely help” in this admonition to seek God for grace! Perhaps it could be found as a very specific promise to those of us who struggle with being on time! We need grace for being timely!
If you’ve read through the preceding five posts you may have felt some conviction or possibly felt the need to somehow defend yourself. Change will not likely come unless we are willing to deeply admit our need. This requires humility. If you need to experience change in the area of being on time, why not ask God to grant you a new perspective on time and to supernaturally help you make the necessary adjustments to honor Him and your fellow worshippers in this area?
Finally, let me end this series with some simple advice.
Warning to Pharisees: If you’re one of those wonderful people who are early to every meeting, God bless you! The rest of us are in process, okay? I want to warn you, however, that pride will bring God’s opposition into your life, even pride about being a punctual person!
God hates pride even more than tardiness. Even the snail made it to the Ark…slowly! God was patient in the days of Noah and is patient with us today! But those who are proud and self-reliant often miss God’s salvation altogether! You may have heard some perfectionist say, “If you can’t do it right, then don’t do it at all.” But the better advice is this, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing wrong until you can learn to get it right!” Joining other believers for worship is an important thing – and it’s worth being late for! Don’t give up on worship just because you may still have a hard time being on time!
Jesus told the parable of the self-righteous Pharisee who stood in the temple, lifting up his eyes, and prayed to himself: “God I thank you that I’m not like all these other people. I pray continually and tithe on all my income….” But Jesus said there was another fellow, a tax-collector (dishonorable profession in that society). The tax collector stood at a distance from the temple and lowered his gaze to the ground, saying, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” Jesus said the second guy went home right with God!
I wonder if the reason the tax-collector prayed at a distance was because when the hour for prayer started he wasn’t there yet? He may not have made it to the Temple in time! That just might have been the case! Regardless, we see that our Lord was mercifully inclined toward the man who humbled himself and recognized his need for change.
This series of blogs on why time matters was written to help many of us humble ourselves and experience needed change that God can bring. Not to fuel self-righteousness or looking down on those who are still struggling with punctuality. Let’s have grace for one another (and for ourselves)!
Finally, if you see someone who is doing something well in an area where you presently have struggles, why not ask them how they do it? Our community is full of wonderful human resources! There are those in our midst that have overcome the same struggle you may currently have. Find them and tap into the grace that could be yours in the body of Christ!