Avenues of Grace

Seeking the Lord with Eyes Wide Open

The Encampments of Our Hearts

We really are screwed up.

Yes, every single one of us.

We crawl, walk, run, stumble, fall, crawl again, and the cycle continues.  Just when we think we are finally steady, we miss a step.

At the beginning of this year, the Lord impressed this Scripture upon my heart:

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.” Psalm 139:23-24

I started praying this daily, and then one night it happened. I awoke in the middle of the night shaking and sweating as if I was having a nightmare, except the nightmare was real. Somewhere, buried deep in the crevices of my heart, was something that I hadn’t thought of…something that I hadn’t confessed. I awoke with eyes wide open to a chasm in my relationship with God, one that I didn’t even know existed. I literally shook as I prayed for forgiveness and felt the weight lift off of me.

The crazy part? I didn’t even realize that this sin was in my life. Somehow I missed it. Somehow I thought I was okay and was walking (at least to the best of my abilities) in righteousness. Boy was I wrong.

I finished reading the Book of Deuteronomy today, and as I read about the death of Moses, I feel certain he felt the same way. For decades he had spoken with the Lord, walked with Him, seen His Glory, and led His people…but somewhere along the way, even if only for a moment, he forgot. Yes, he FORGOT that it wasn’t about him, that this great deliverance of the Israelites had absolutely nothing to do with him or his righteousness and absolutely EVERYTHING to do with God’s relentless love.

I’m sure it was accidental. I’m sure his intentions were good. I’m sure that he regretted what he said the moment that it slipped from his mouth. But even so, he forfeited his ticket into the Promised Land. He was allowed to see it only from a mountain top before he died.

We are no different. The truth is that as long as we live in this body, we are subject to the inclinations of our flawed hearts, and those inclinations are ones of selfishness, pride, and evil. It is our nature to seek independence, to credit ourselves, and to try to blaze our own paths. It is our nature to want what we want without consideration of consequences. It is our nature to war with the new self that Jesus creates within us. Taking our eyes off of Him for even a moment is all that the enemy needs to trip us and cause us to stumble.

I share this because we need to be honest with ourselves. We need a right view of where we stand before God. We need a right view of His relentless love and glorious grace. It’s not about our titles, our social media facades, or who the world thinks we are. It’s not about how we’ve walked in the past or what we’ve seen the Lord do.  It’s about RIGHT NOW.  It’s about asking the Lord to show each one of us where we stand before Him and taking the time to LISTEN. It’s about asking Him to search our hearts because sometimes we are so flawed that we can’t even see our own sin until it spews out of our mouths from some ugly place in our hearts that we didn’t even know existed.

A dear friend once told me that we should rejoice when we are under conviction. (I can think of many words to describe conviction, but “rejoice” is certainly not one of them!) Then he asked me: How many times do you think you’ve sinned today? This week? This month? This year?  I shook my head with wide eyes. He replied, “God doesn’t lay all of that on you at once; He gives it to you one piece at a time. So when He brings up sin in your life, you should rejoice because He loves you enough to mold you into the image of His Son.”

So I challenge you to ask, to dig, to search, and to pray. There are many encampments in our hearts, encampments that wage war against the Lord and encampments that wage war against the flesh. Jesus IS the Victor and the Savior, but is He really your LORD?

 

Photo via Visual hunt

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