God knows what you and I need to grow and mature in our relationship with Him, but do you? Much of my time I execute Paul’s Dilemma. To the believers in Rome he communicated, "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate, I do.” (Romans 7:15) This is why one of the prayers God put on my heart to pray at the beginning of this year (2016) was and is – “Lord, help me be a better husband, son to you and my parents, brother to my brother and my Christian family, brother-n-law, co-worker and all-around person.”

Wrapped up and included in this personal prayer is Scripture that God gave me to pray. When you start asking God for improvements to be applied in your life, look-out God will assist you in the next heartbeat. For me, He gave me two passages out of Psalms added-on to my original prayer – Psalm 51:10 and Psalm 139:23-24.

Psalm 51:10 says, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” The word “create” gives me the impression that I either did not have it before or God is going to have to develop this in me or both. The word “renew” is encouraging. It means to me that the “steadfast spirit” spoken of was once there but needs reviving or renewing. In any case, purity and steadfastness are some focus areas God has pin-pointed (just being real with you). And what an awesome thing to ponder that my God loves me enough to work with me on these things.

In Psalm 139:23-24 it says, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” This whole Psalm is one of my favorite Scripture passages of the whole Bible. This part speaks to God wanting me and everyone else praying every microscopic area of our lives surrendered to Him. There are many words of observation in this verse – “search me”, “know my heart”, “test me”, “know my anxious thoughts”, “see…”, and “lead me…”. If we don’t feel like we are under the microscope after this verse, something is wrong. So, even though God knows everything about us, He still desires for us to surrender every aspect to Him – no matter how insignificant you think it is. I love that side of my God! It makes me even more willing to go under the microscope and pray this Psalm with passion so that He will “lead me in the way everlasting”.

One thing is for sure, self-improvement had better include consultation with The Book, also known as Life’s Manual or The Bible. Because within The Book lies God’s words that we can pray back over the lives of others and our lives so that we can grow, mature and improve in our relationship with Him.