OLordmy God, I called to you for helpand you healed me. (Ps. 30:2)

A young man had been at a Christian camp all week and struggled with what it means to please God. How could he ever gain God’s favor? Toward the end of the week, around the campfire, he publically committed himself to full-time ministry, thinking that would do it. Spiritually speaking, that night was the worst of his life. He seemed further away from God than ever. The best he could do, the most he could sacrifice, wasn’t enough. The next day, however, this young man heard and responded to the gospel. It was as if a thousand stadium lights came on in his mind. There was nothing he could do to earn God’s favor—God needed to rescue him.

Psalm 30 reminds us of our utter dependence on God to save us—not only from our enemies, but from ourselves. When we call upon the Lord in our despair, He will heal us. If we are merciful to others, we will receive mercy in our time of need.

However, one thing is required of us. We must acknowledge responsibility for our words, actions, and decisions that have been less than honoring to the Lord. Holding on to our self-justification only holds us back from the Lord. When we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful to restore our souls, so that we can rediscover the joy and the freedom to worship.

Identify anything that is hindering your prayers, and ask God to remove it from your life.

Doug Schmidt is a freelance writer and editor; he is also the small-groups director at his church.