For a little while now I start my time with the Lord by praying through Puritan prayers from the book The Valley of Vision. This morning, in the prayer entitled “Vain Service,” I prayed the following line, which is a part of a larger unit of confessions of sin:
Forgive me for serving thee in sinful ways – …by a faith that rests upon my hold on Christ, not on him alone…
It is amazing how easy it can be to subtle and very deceptively push Christ out from the center of our faith, hope, and love and replace him with something else. If this something else resembles devotion, it is all the more elusive to our discernment. Sometimes that can be as simple as focusing on God’s gifts and benefits rather than on him personally. In this prayer, I was struck by something deeply profound – that one of these subtle deception arises from focusing our faith on faith’s very own grasp of Christ rather than Christ alone. Our attention is now turned to our grasping rather than Christ’s gifting, and this is a dangerous place to be.
This temptation, more than most, is subtle enough to fly under the radar of our discernment processing, and is often tauted as true faith if there ever was any.
What are your thoughts? Can you see this temptation playing itself out in your life?