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 65. Then, come back and read the following verse again.
“When iniquities prevail against me,
you atone for our transgressions.” (Psalm 65:3 ESV)
One of the strangest things that we have associated with Christianity is guilt. In fact, many Christians seem to wear guilt as some kind of badge of honor and holiness. It comes from really flawed thinking that suggests that the guiltier I feel over my failures, the more pleased God must be—if I am truly miserable for a long period of time, then God must be delighted. This thought process places me right back at the center of earning my own salvation and seems to suggest that the depth of my guilt is directionally proportional to my right standing with God.
Psalm 65 talks about being overwhelmed with deep guilt because of sin and rebellion. It is a feeling that most of us know well. It then tells us how God meets us when we are in this place. The NIV is helpful here.
“When we were overwhelmed by sins,
you forgave our transgressions.” (Psalm 65:3 NIV)
Just think about that for a second. He doesn’t kick us when we are down. He doesn’t take great joy in some prolonged moping. He sees us straining under guilt and removes it from us. How good is that?
I love how Eugene Peterson captured it in The Message:
“We all arrive at your doorstep sooner
or later, loaded with guilt,
Our sins too much for us—
but you get rid of them once and for all.”
When you are convicted of your sin, repent. That is a good and appropriate response. But then remember to rest in the knowledge that God forgives you through Christ and doesn’t desire for you labor under your guilt any longer. He paid a great price so that you could experience joy, not further bondage.
Father God, thank You so much for the mercy and forgiveness that You offer us through Your Son. When I am overwhelmed, You forgive. Help me to believe that.
Ross Lester, Selah: Devotions From The Psalms For Those Who Struggle With Devotion (Magnolia, Texas: Lucid Books, 2017)