Thursday, January 27, 2011

Why We Are Told to Wait

But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the LORD;
I will wait for the God of my salvation.
My God will hear me
(Micah 7:7)

In a message on Micah 7, "Patient like a Prophet," I applied Micah's patient endurance by waiting upon the Lord to our continual need to cultivate the discipline of waiting upon the Lord. This means, in part, rejecting frenetic anxiety and beholding the impending fulfillment of the Lord's promises in time and personal experience.

If I would have had more time to develop the point, I hope I would have said something as half as helpful as Paul Tripp's recent article at DesiringGod, Spiritual Muscle Development.

Tripp helpfully develops the point that waiting on the Lord is not just a matter of waiting, but a process of becoming. Specifically, that the process of waiting is one of God's primary tools to shaping us into the image of His beloved Son. And in this sanctifying process, there are some bad habits that may develop if we are not careful:
  • Giving way to doubt.
  • Giving way to anger.
  • Giving way to discouragement.
  • Giving way to envy.
  • Giving way to inactivity.
Again, please read how Tripp diagnoses and unmasks these bad habits for what they really are, unbelief. Tripp's response to this unbelief is remembering:
He is wise and loving. His timing is always right, and his focus isn’t so much on what you will experience and enjoy, but on what you will become. He is committed to using every tool at his disposal to rescue you from yourself and to shape you into the likeness of his Son. The fact is that waiting is one of his primary shaping tools.
So, what does this mean for this morning?
Here are the things that he has designed for you to build the muscles of your heart and strengthen your resolve: the regular study of his Word; consistent godly fellowship; looking for God’s glory in creation every day; putting yourself under excellent preaching and teaching of Scripture; investing your quiet mental time in meditating on the goodness of God (e.g., as you are going off to sleep); reading excellent Christian books; and spending ample time in prayer.
Waiting on the Lord is a discipline and an intentional process to mortify our sin, vivify our devotion, and deepen our joy in Him. In other words, waiting is integral to becoming increasingly holy. That is why we wait. So, how are you waiting?

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