prayer, study, worship, and at times also failing to gather with other believers when I know I should. I was actually allowing myself to fall under con-
demnation about this, which has a tendency to paralyze us and keep us from seeking the Lord as we should.
I believe the Holy Spirit led me regarding this to consider Psalm 119. This is a very long Psalm, divided into sections with Hebrew letters. As we read
this Psalm we see the constant pleading to be a faithful person put forth by the writer. He yearns after God and His Word, and wants to have a closer
walk with God and not be led astray. He is constantly crying out to God through the whole Pslam, but interestingly the Psalm ends with verse 176:
176 "I have strayed like a lost sheep.
Seek your servant,
for I have not forgotten your commands".
I do not believe that the Holy Spirit is teaching us here that we will, or should constantly stray away from the Lord. But I think what the Lord is teaching
us here is despite all the pleading and "trying" that we do to stay in the flock what is really important is trusting THE SHEPHERD HIMSELF TO KEEP US.
Remaining faithful in the flock is not based on our trying to be faithful----but by relying on HIM TO BE FAITHFUL to keep us. Notice how the Psalmist says "I
have strayed like a lost sheep, SEEK YOUR SERVANT".
What I truly believe this is teaching us is that the Psalmist has learned through all of his yearning and trying and crying is that he can only really remain faithful
if THE LORD IS SEEKING HIM. The Good Shepherd calls to us and leads us out----we don't just decide to follow.
Again, I don't see this verse as an excuse to stray, or to think either that we are always going to stray---but rather as a realization that we need to constantly RELY
and HAVE FAITH that the Good Shepherd WILL KEEP US as we call to Him. We cannot be faithful to God through our "efforts"---but by relying upon HIS PROMISES
to be faithful to us and hear our prayers.
I found this to be greatly comforting. Comfort from the Comforter.