Psalm 118:25 (NIV)
Lord, save us! Lord, grant us success!
Hebrews 13:20, 21
May the God of peace work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever.
There is a great scene in the movie Martin Luther Heretic, in which Luther is portrayed as a professor before his students. Luther is explaining that our salvation is a gift from God received by faith. There is nothing that we must do to be saved. One of the students asks, “You mean we can do whatever pleases us?” Luther replies, “Yes. And what pleases you? Get drunk and make faces at the duke? Spend the night in a whore house?”
The conversation – though fanciful – gets at what happens when we believe in Jesus and by the power of the Holy Spirit are saved. Our values are of necessity changed; that’s part of repentance. Our faith in Jesus brings with it a love for that which is good and God-pleasing; that which brings glory to him. Those things please us which honor Christ. Success is not self-centered. God does good work.
When we pray for God’s help, our prayers must be focused not only on our own needs, but reflective of God’s being and character. His glory is not seen when a selfish prayer is answered. His work in us is not advanced by self-centered success. God’s desire is for our ultimate good: our salvation and eternal joy in Christ. Thanks be to God that Christ has saved us, and through his death our sins are forgiven and through his resurrection our eternal glory is secured. To him be glory forever and ever!