John Gavazzoni
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The Gavazzonis'

Subtle, Insistent,
By John Gavazzoni

The flesh's determination to be reckoned righteous before God by attitudes and/or acts originating out from that supposed place within the soul of man where God has (again) supposedly ceded over an essential portion of His sovereignty --- which must be logically interpreted to mean that the man's decision is required to place Him, God, in control --- is both subtle and insistent: a subtlety amazing in its subterfuge and accompanied by an insistence pervasive in its stubborn arrogance.

Insightfulness into one example will lead to the presence of the above in many other forms. Here's the example I propose: We are admonished in scripture to bring our requests to God by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving. So, coming in on the coattails of an encouragement to be God-dependent, the flesh takes the position that it has set before it the opportunity to claim a positive response from God, BECAUSE it has dutifully met the required condition. It has prayed, supplicated, and that with thanksgiving, therefore God is required to do His part, since the man has done his part.

But true, fervent, effectual prayer comes to God with nothing to offer Him as reason for Him to be favorably disposed toward us, NOT EVEN THE PRAYER ITSELF. The subtlety involved here is that of effectively turning prayer into self-centeredness, rather than God-centeredness. I become aware of my praying, rather than aware of "the God of all grace" to Whom I come with "nothing in my hand to bring...," as the writer of the hymn confesses.

This realization led me just recently to a repentance re: the ideal of being aware of God throughout one's day. How utterly unworthy it would seem to be, of a saint to go for hours on end without any God thoughts. Such was the case as I was driving alone from PA to CA, putting in hours of driving in a day, up to twelve hours. Somewhere during the trip, it occurred to me that I hadn't thought about the Lord, or anything pertaining to Him for at least a whole day. THEN came that sweet, assuring voice of the Spirit saying, "What's important is that I have not gone a micro-second without you on My mind."

I may not be able to hold God in my thoughts always, but He not only is able to keep me in His thoughts, He actually does so. I am in His mind, and He, with me in His thoughts, keeps on living in me as my life, though I might not at all times connect with Him there. Paul desired to "grasp that for which (he) had been grasped." He had been sovereignly grasped, and God's grasp of him, was not dependent upon his grasp of God. Just the opposite. Since I have been grasped by God for His eternal purpose, I will progressively come to "grasp that for which I have been grasped."

I didn't finish the line of the hymn quoted above. It goes on to affirm, "Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling." It was on that cross where I, with my subtle, insistent obsession with gaining some self-credit before God was crucified. In the highest and purest form of prayer, one's consciousness of being in the act of prayer disappears, as we behold Him in the glory of His graciousness.

John GavazzoniJohn Gavazzoni
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