What pleases you?

Psalm 37:4

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Mark 11:24

Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Gift items in the bazaar in the Old City Jerusalem

Martin Luther Heretic is a BBC-produced docudrama and one of my favorite film depictions of the 15th century reformer. It has some classic lines and scenes, one of which comes to mind in regard to these texts. Luther is shown teaching his students in the university. He is teaching them about grace and forgiveness, telling them that God simply forgives sins. There’s nothing we do to earn it or deserve forgiveness. It’s a free gift.

The students struggle with this new concept (which is actually based on the Bible’s true teaching), and asks, “You mean we can do whatever we please?” Luther responds, “Yes. And what pleases you? Get drunk and spend the week in a brothel? Make faces at the Duke?”

The exchange goes on: “You shall know them by their fruits,” says the student. Luther replies, “So the fruit makes the tree good. I thought it was the other way around.”

The question must be asked, “What pleases you?”Do you delight in the Lord? Are you willing to pray as though Jesus himself were praying? If these mark our attitude toward God, our prayers will be shaped and guided toward things that honor him and bring true grace and goodness to us.

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