The movie What about Bob? starred Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss in an odd comedy about a psychologist and one of his patients, a man afraid of almost everything. Bob, the patient, follows the psychologist to his vacation home. The psychologist is angry at Bob, but the doctor's family thinks Bob is fun. In fact, they even take Bob sailing-his first time-and tie him to the mast so he won't chicken out!
When Bob arrives back at the dock, he sees his psychiatrist and begins yelling excitedly, "I sailed! I sailed! I'm a sailor! I actually went sailing!" Later, a calmer Bob explains to the doctor's son (who has a few fears of his own), "I just let the boat do all the work.. . . That's my secret."
Bob's "secret" is actually a lot wiser than it may sound.
You see, a lot of people-people who love God and want to obey him-think it's their job to do good things and avoid doing bad things. They imagine that making right choices requires a "grit-your-teeth" struggle against temptation and sin, a struggle in which only the strong survive.
They need to learn Bob's "secret." Trying to make right choices and live a godly life in your own strength is like trying to sail a boat by blowing into the sails. You don't have the strength to do right all by yourself any more than you have enough wind in your lungs to power a sailboat. The only way you can make right choices, time after time, is not by trying but by trusting. After all, it's '"Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the Lord Almighty" (Zechariah 4:6, NIV) that you can live a godly life.
Your job is to pray and to stay as close to God as you can. God's job (through his Holy Spirit) is to help you obey his commands (see Ezekiel 36:26-27). You can make right choices time after time if you let the Holy Spirit be the wind in your sails.
REFLECT: According to Psalm 44:1-3, who did all the work of conquering the Promised Land for the Israelites? According to Psalm 44:4-8, who "gives us victory"? If your "job" in making right choices is to pray, stay as close to God as you can, and trust him to help you to obey his commands, is there anything you should be doing now that you haven't been doing? Is there anything you have been trying to do that you shouldn't be trying to do? How can you trust God more and more every day? Can you trust God without being willing to do right? Why or why not?
PRAY: Reread Psalm 44:1-8, only this time pray the verses. Feel free to put them into your own words or to write your own personalized version of those verses in a notebook or prayer journal.