Click here to get the low-down on the "Open for 2015" weekly series.
The main theme that keeps coming up this week are the habitual sins of my heart and mind that keep me from loving God and loving others. We all have a few of these. We can hide them behind smiles and activity, but when the Spirit gives us a pinch of conviction, we hope no one else notices!
I think what got the ball rolling was our pastor preaching on Galatians 6 two Sundays ago. He was in the passage about gently restoring your brother if he is caught in sin. He pointed out how sometimes we are "you who live by the Spirit" and in the position to restore, but sometimes we are the one caught in sin. We need to be cautious and gentle, just as we would want people to be with us. The sermon got me thinking about inviting a confidant or two to know and pray for me about my nagging, habitual sins.
I haven't gotten around to that yet! It is scary to think about sins being exposed. I don't know if I want anyone to know what I am really like: how often I cast judgments, how much I love my own opinions, how unteachable my heart is, how slow I am to forgive, how quick I am to anger, how little self-control I possess.
Over the week, God has been OPENing me up to talking with Him about my heart condition. I have had a couple of experiences that have left me feeling raw and exposed to myself, leaving me with what I'll call mild soul-nausea. That unsettled feeling has caused me to OPEN up to the Lord about the root of these feelings and actions, to confess my sin, and to want to do something about it.
The most difficult thing is knowing how long it could take to see any real change in patterns I have developed, since they are as ingrained as ruts in a well-traveled road. Thus, not only must I be OPEN to admitting/revealing his sin, I also need to be OPEN to believe that God can do something about it. Enter, His Word.
Yesterday morning as I was again praying through these things, I asked the Lord for the day's reading to speak something to me to give me hope. He heard my cry! The reading was from Luke 11, the disciples asking Jesus to teach them to pray. So perfect. Not only was I reminded of my need to be more Kingdom oriented, but also of God's father-love for me and His desire to give me His Spirit.
So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! Luke 11:9-12
My heart filled with hope! God used the preaching of His Word a couple of weeks ago to infect me with soul-nausea; He was using His Word to remind me that He also holds the remedy. I cannot stay and wallow, drowning in guilt, self-loathing, and defeat. That is not why God convicts us of sin! We need to repent and believe, so we can walk in newness of life even as we await transformation.
Can you believe the God of all time and creation cares so much about people?
Repent and believe the GOOD NEWS!
Time to Take Action:
Do you know what I mean by soul-nausea? Are you in a place right now where the Lord has shown you some thing(s) about yourself that leave you feeling exposed and vulnerable? Take heart, it is GOOD when He moves in our lives in this way. He wants to draw you to new places of growth and faith. But it is uncomfortable, isn't it? It makes me get squirm! Read the verses from Luke 11 above and start asking! Ask the Lord for what you need from Him, seek transformation in Him by His Spirit. How much more will our Father in heaven? So much more! Believe it. And when God's love fills you with courage, invite a friend to ask God on your behalf, too.