Sunday, October 12, 2014

It's not THAT bad





Psalm 66:17-18:  "I cried to him with my mouth, and high praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened."

This scripture verse is like a battering ram to my heart...in a good way.  See, here has been my problem:

I have since becoming a new creation in Christ, a believer and one who is saved, known that I am called to love the Lord with all my heart, soul, strength and mind (Luke 10:27).  And, I have wanted to love him this way, OH how I have wanted to.  Prayed to.  But...while I have experienced and shown evidence of Luke 10, it hasn't been until now that I have found such depth of revelation and affection.  

Here is my confession, the ugly truth: 

-I often saw my sin as less than other people's sins.  
I haven't ever seen my sin as that big a deal.  As that significant.  I have prayed only half-hearted and almost vague non-specific prayers about the Lord killing my idols and helping me love him most.  I have never truly invited him in to show me the base level depth and weight of my sin, and therefore I have never FELT a great need for a savior.  God intended for his law to crush us...so that we can rejoice in the glorious, undeserved gift of the Gospel.  

-My sins were small, and therefore my savior was small.  
I know that the sins of anger, unforgiveness, self-pity, lovelessness and revenge are just as bad as any other sin.  I have wrestled with these particular sins all my life.  Yet, I had not invited the Holy Spirit to work change in my heart, and help me kill the sins, even while knowing there were even deeper sin issues at the root of them!  Hence, the "cherishing iniquity in my heart."  I, unlike the Psalmist in Psalm 66, was not having my prayers to love/value God most answered, and it was because I was not humbling myself in confession, nor was I pursuing the death of certain sins. 

-I wanted to feel loved.
I crave for my feelings and emotions to back up what I know to be true.  But, when I didn't let the Lord into the areas of my heart that needed tending to, it was IMPOSSIBLE for me to feel the full weight of forgiveness and love from God (or thankfulness TO God) ...because I wasn't dealing with the sins to even confess them.  Therefore, I was not going to FEEL love from his forgiveness.   

-I esteemed being viewed as godly over actually being godly.  
 I was scared of pain, discomfort and rejection (of people) more than I was concerned over the disobedience of my heart in not valuing Christ as I ought.  Therefore, I allowed myself to be "content" to find my value and worth based off of the impressions people got of my godliness, and the affirmation they gave me for it.  

-I wanted glory and affirmation for myself.
 Sarah was Sarah's idol.  These confessions kill me because I didn't want to live like that!  It's not what true life is!  God says to live is CHRIST to die is GAIN (Phil 1:21)!  Yet, I didn't want to suffer the pain of dying...dying to self and the death of my sins (which would hurt my idol of ME).  I. was. THE idol.  

I was strongly convicted by this quote when I started reading John Pipers book "God is the Gospel:

"Most modern people can scarily imagine an alternative understanding of feeling loved other than feeling made much of.  If you don't make much of me you are not loving me. But when you apply this definition of love to God, it weakens his worth, undermines his goodness, and steals our final satisfaction.  If the enjoyment of God himself is not the final and best gift of love, then God is not the greatest treasure, his self-fgiving is not the highest mercy, the gospel is not the good news that sinners may enjoy their Maker, Christ did not suffer to bring us to God, and our souls must look beyond him for satisfaction...We are willing to be God-centered, it seems, as long as God is man-centered.  We are willing to boast in the cross as long as the cross is a witness to our worth.  Who then is our pride and joy?"   

So.  Who am I really?  I am: 

Proud. Self-consumed. Hypocritical. Wounded. Always wanting to make justice happen. Unworthy of all things good.

Who is God? He is:

Gracious. Full of compassion. Rich in Mercy.  Loving. Holy. 
Worthy, for he IS all things good. 

Isaiah 30:18: "Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; Blessed are all those who wait for him." 

I have talked about my confession in past tense because the Lord has done a great work in my heart! I finally humbled myself before God and confessed. 

James 4:6-10:  "But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, 'God opposes the pround, but gives grace to the humble.' Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Huble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you." 

"My strength is found not in how intensely I struggle but how completely I surrender."  -Ken Gire.  

I surrendered my fears to the Lord.  Confessed my desires to be made much of, and asked him for help to see my sins as crushingly huge.  I wanted to make much of my Savior and the death he died for those sins I'd seen as "not that big of a deal."  You know what I found??

NO CONDEMNATION! (Romans 8:1!)
JOY!
THANKFULNESS!!
Hunger for more of Christ to a level I'd never felt before!
FREEDOM! Freedom to confess to the world and to God that I am a wretch...but because of Christ...I am seen as PURE and blameless by the Father! (Again, to a new level). 


GOD IS THE GOOD NEWS!! GOD IS MY SOURCE! I AM TRANSFORMED (2 Cor 5:17)!

Yet...
I had not been living as one who is saved. A new creation. I had not been walking in free grace with the absence of condemnation.  

I was not delighting or loving God with all my heart, soul, strength and mind because again, I didn't see my sin as great.  More often, I was seeking God for me, and what he could do for me, not because He is EVERYTHING good and I want to know more of my creator God, his splendors and ultimately, worship him.  I was using him. And, because of this, I was ungrateful.  Entitled. 

THIS should be my heart: 
"What is man, that you make so much of him, and that you set your heart on him, visit him every morning, test him at every moment?" -Job 7:17-18

IN AWE that the GOD of the UNIVERSE pursues me.  

I am so thankful for what God has been showing me lately!  Since he has revealed to me the deep uglies of my heart (and I know there are more to be found), I am excited to pursue God, grow, love, serve and relish the joy in HIM that's always available.  Because...I will say it again...God is the good news. 

I still wrestle with my flesh. Pride. Selfishness (always will while here on earth), but I have realized this:  I can want all my life to esteem God as highest--to value the gift of forgiveness--yet never actually do so. 

Until I was willing to face my sin head on...to humble myself before God and ASK him to HELP me die to self, I didn't value the greatest gift I have ever had and will ever have. My flesh wants to run from sin.  Divert. I want to be praised.  I want the glory.  Of course I don't "feel" like running into the pain of growing and killing sin.  But, I can know, that if I choose to "cherish iniquity" in my heart, that I will have a wedge between myself and the fullness of joy that is found in Christ. 
"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks find, and to the one who knocks it will be opened." -Matt 7:7-8

I am praising God right now for opening the door to me!  For answering my prayers to see my sin as great and deserving of God's wrath...not so I would be hopeless in guilt and condemnation, but so that I could rejoice in the greatness of my savior who died under God's wrath in my place.

To find GOD as THE good news is to find never-ending desire for more of him while simultaneously living in complete satisfaction in him.

To GOD be the GLORY great things he has done!!


....next time maybe I'll have a weightier post for you all...  ;) 




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