For weeks I have struggled to find words to write. My heart has been processing much. It seems that while I may have much to say the words are not forming on “paper” very easily. Nor are they forming easily out loud. So I sit and ask God to help me understand what it is my heart is feeling?
Then today I keep singing these words, “Change my heart, O God make it ever true. Change my heart O God may I be like you.”
God knows me. I mean He REALLY knows me. Inside and out. He has examined the depths of my heart. He knows my thoughts and my motives. He knows the words I whisper in my heart but choose not to speak. He knows all about me. (Psalm 139:1-5) That can be a scary thought. At least in my mind, because you see, I too know the ugly parts of my heart. I hear my unkind thoughts.
My constant cry is Psalms 139:23-24 which says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”
Ya’ all, here is the deal. I am a sinner. Oh I know Jesus died for me and conquered death. I know I have been born of the Spirit of God who now lives in me. I know there is grace. I know I stand forgiven. But all this does not change the fact that I still sin.
I still get angry when I should love.
I still fight forgiving others when they hurt me.
I still want my own way.
I still want it to be about me.
I am still stubborn. I can be very unkind. My are not always pure. I can be a hypocrite, a Pharisee and I could go on, but you get the idea. On many days I can forget I am redeemed. And I often serve whatever idol of the day is rising up in my heart for control.
Regardless of what you think, what you might perceive, I do not have it all together. I have not arrived to some level of super Christian or to a mega spiritual level. So if you want to stop following me, or stop being my friend, or if you lose confidence in me as a leader, a mentor, a disciple(r)? I get it. Really I do.
But know this. It breaks my heart as much as it breaks yours. I grieve over the sinfulness of my heart. The sin it is capable of committing. Sometimes I wonder if there is any hope at all for my heart to really change.
I mean, like change forever!
But the truth is my heart has already changed forever. I now have a new heart. I have the heart of Christ who is changing me daily. I have a heart that desires to do good and to please God. Yet while I am still here on earth I will always battle my flesh.
I have changed and I am changing. Sin is no longer my master. Because of Christ’s victory on the cross I know am no longer a slave to sin. Sin no longer has to control the way I live. I have been freed from the power of sin. (Romans 6) But still, I will fail. I will sin. I will do the very thing I do not want to do.
I, like you, battle the flesh and I can say with Paul in Romans 7:18-19 (NLT) “I know I am rotten through and through so far as my old sinful nature is concerned. No matter which way I turn, I can't make myself do right. I want to, but I can't. When I want to do good, I don't. And when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway.”
So what hope do I have? What hope is there? Oh what a miserable person I am!! Who will free me from this battle of the flesh? This sinful heart? “Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God's law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin. So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. For the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you through Christ Jesus from the power of sin that leads to death. ” (Romans 7:24-8:2)
I am not condemned. God does not condemn me, He only sees the work of the cross. He sees the righteousness of Jesus. Therefore I will not condemn myself. I will not condemn you. And please, I ask, do not condemn me. Let us remember that the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed us and is in the process of changing us to be ever more like Him.
Let’s offer grace to one another. Grace that says, “I trust the Spirit that is working in you.” Grace that says, “I see Jesus working in you.”
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