Listen: For King and Country, "Fix My Eyes," http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xG3q-v8Uhjs
Psalm 141 - A psalm of David.
1 I call to you, Lord, come quickly to me;
hear me when I call to you.
2 May my prayer be set before you like incense;"
may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.
3 Set a guard over my mouth,lord;
keep watch over the door of my lips."
4 Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil
so that I take part in wicked deeds"
along with those who are evildoers;
do not let me eat their delicacies."
5 Let a righteous man strike me—that is a kindness;
let him rebuke me--that is oil on my head."
My head will not refuse it,
for my prayer will still be against the deeds of evildoers.
6 Their rulers will be thrown down from the cliffs,
and the wicked will learn that my words were well spoken.
7 They will say, “As one plows and breaks up the earth,"
so our bones have been scattered at the mouth of the grave.”
8 But my eyes are fixed on you, Sovereign Lord;
in you I take refuge—do not give me over to death.
9 Keep me safe from the traps set by evildoers,
from the snares they have laid for me.
10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets,
while I pass by in safety.
How many faces do you see in the picture above? It's interesting to note what we see and don't see. We are trained to recognize the familiar -- we suppress the unknown. Imagine all we overlook in a regular day because our focus is fixed on a destination or our mind is preoccupied. We miss simple things, like a flower, the person serving our coffee, a piece of litter we could pick up.
The same is true with our spiritual sight. Take for example the imagery of Psalm 141. These verses talk to us about developing the desire to do good and to recognize wrong-doing in ourselves. Evil is subtle and cunning. It's the curse we utter when someone cuts us off or is rude. It's the resentment that hangs over our heart like a fog. It's then envy when someone acquires something we long for. It's the anger that inflames our spirit when a brother or sister say or do something we disagree with. It's the refusal to forgive when God has given us the grace to do so. It's the judgment against someone we barely know. It's the excuse we give over and over to not pray or attend to worship. It's the self-absorption we engage in on a daily basis. It's the careless waste of our environment, the neglect of the needy, the aged, the vulnerable. It's the hours we fritter away on the internet, gossip, or pornography. Each of us could examine our conscience and discover the "traps" we have fallen into.
The psalmist paints a vivid picture: evil is so bad for us that it is a kindness to be struck -- if it shakes us out of our apathy. A rebuke is like medicine to the soul if it awakens us that we are on a wrong path and brings us to our spiritual senses.
The remedy for spiritual ailment is training our eyes on God. We do this through prayer -- by lifting our hearts to God as quickly incense rises in the air. We bring our problems to God, we learn to repent of habits that are negative and ask God's help to replace them with positive and spiritual habits. We read scriptures that teach us what God desires of us. We learn to act as children of God. When we do wrong we ask forgiveness. We make amends wherever we can. The more we train ourselves on seeing God in our lives and around us, the more God is able to show us and teach us and guide us to avoid the "nets of wrong-doing."
This week, read Psalm 141 several times. Let its timely message sink in. Most important, ask for the desire to be consistent in prayer, to keep focus on God throughout the day, and the discernment between evil and good in our lives. God will help us to seek the good, and to root out evil -- if we just ask him for this grace.
Are we ready to let go? Are we ready to receive life-giving, life-restoring grace that will set us free from sin's bondage?
Pray: "God, Teach me every day to examine my heart. Train my eyes to your ways and remove anything that keeps me from resting in you. "