Lately I’ve been working on a section of a book I hope to get published someday. (Yes, a girl can only dream!) The section I’m up to deals with examining sin in your life. Unfortunately, I’m sort of stuck. I don’t really know what that says about me (and any jokers out there, please don’t go there)! The problem is that I want a tool that will help a person excavate sin that may lay hidden in the depths of the deceptive human heart. In other words, it is a daunting task.
I have spent several weeks asking for God to examine my heart. It’s been sometimes revealing, and for the most part, I really like those moments. Other times, to be completely honest, (which I need to be or I will have to confess that sin too) it’s been somewhat depressing. But I’ve persevered.
What was most amazing, however, was how God has used the circumstances since I’ve gone on this sin pilgrimage to teach me and challenge me. One of the first things that happened was my church had this amazing communion service a couple of weeks ago. We always have great ones at Metro, but this one really stirred up emotions in me that overwhelmed me and surprised me. I know that some of that intensity was probably because my focus has been on my sins, but I just felt so broken that night–broken in a good way. I knew I was in for more revelation, I just didn’t know to what extent.
Then just four days later was the tragic death of a local pastor, Fred Winters, as I have mentioned him in a previous post. But what really hit home with me throughout that difficult week was the eulogy that Cindy Winters gave at her husband’s funeral. She spoke of how selfless, giving, open, caring and Christ-like Fred was. You might expect glowing things to be said in honor of the loved one, but it wasn’t just a long list of compliments. Cindy shared snapshots from Fred’s life that revealed the kind of man he was. To put it mildly, I was moved, inspired and convicted. I don’t know about you, but it made me want to live wholeheartedly and completely for God. Mediocre and comfortable Christianity would no longer do.
Then an area of sin in my life came bubbling up right around that same time. Someone had done something to offend me in an already shaky relationship. So I decided to ask myself some very difficult questions. And as I began to write down my answers I felt this flood of sadness–not at my offender, but at myself. I sat in absolute amazement at the audacity of my sin. I knew that I could not harbor anger in my heart for this person when I had been just as guilty if not more so. I grieved over my sin. I surrendered my sin to Jesus and I felt a huge burden lifted.
The next day I wanted to be bolder, to be friendlier, to be more forgiving in every circumstance and every relationship. I saw some other people who I’ve had issues with over the years that next day and I made a point to be friendlier with them than ever before. And the funny thing was that I actually felt it this time–it wasn’t an act. I think they noticed that difference in me and I was glad. I want to be noticed for being kind, loving, and forgiving. I think way too often I have been noticed for just the opposite.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not kidding myself. I know that what I’m committing to do is not going to be easy–dying to self never is. And now that I’m putting myself out there I know that you may see me fail. But, if you could just take a step back and remind yourself that I am trying, and trust that God is convicting me, then I would greatly appreciate it. And when I slow down enough, which doesn’t happen often enough, I will try my best to listen to His voice and accept that He always has a very good point. And I, in turn, want to say back to Him and to you, it is a point well taken!
“. . . Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1b-3 (NIV)