After a quick and uplifting Christmas break, I trekked back to Virginia from Indiana for my final semester of my junior year. I have never been a fan of long road trips; they always seem to bring out the worst in me. I am known to get cranky in the car! J Lord, forgive me. Anyways, this time it was different. I am not sure why. Maybe I am getting older and starting to think more about the upcoming years in my life, I don’t know. That will certainly be new terrain and unmarked territory in my life, but regardless… the Lord was pressing in my soul.
Instead of listening to music on my IPOD for the 9-hour drive, I put in “Walking with God”, an audio book by John Eldridge and a sermon from the Passion Conference by Francis Chan. It was fantastic. One thing it stirred me to do was to take an honest look at my life, and not just my life but deeper, to look deep into the basement of my soul. To do this is harder than it sounds because it HURTS when you begin to peel back layers of your life to get to the core. This is necessary for a straightforward, no pride involved, lay it all down, reflection of myself. To make a long story short I was disgusted.
I realized that in light of God, his holiness, and in his quest for receiving ALL of the glory, I had begun to take satisfaction in taking part in that credit, that ultimate glory. I LIKED it when people recognized me. I LIKED it when my name or face was attached to an event or time, place, or whatever. I LIKED it when people told me all these good things about me. I LIKED it when I thought that I could do so much on my own because of what God has given me. I LIKED even LOVED my own glory. What I had not realized was the poison this injects.
In my quest for self-exaltation and pride, I had laced every area of my life to make myself known… I would tell partial truths, I would cover up things to save face, I would cut corners and take easy roads, and I would twist stories to make myself sound better than I actually was. And wouldn’t you know it, it never made me happy. But there I was, striving for the unattainable, striving for the very opposite of God’s nature and doing so in a position where I was preaching God’s Word. Shameful is the word that comes to mind. Utterly disgusting. There is only one thing I could do. Repent and pray for God’s love to heal my heart. Nothing else would work. I needed the transformation of God’s work in my life more than ever. But there was hope.
At the end of this past year, we lived in a dirty, old house that was filled with mold and was literally killing us. I mean it was so bad that the most poisonous mold was growing in our house and we could not breathe. I am pretty sure the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were formed in this environment. But it was obvious that if we stayed here it would be horrendous for our health and we needed a new place to stay. We recognized our state; we knew something had to change.
In the New Year, here I sit in a brand new, just finished house. No mold, no ninja turtles, new life. In that car ride down it dawned on me that is what the Holy Spirit is doing to me that is what He wants to do to you. He wants us to recognize our filthy state and to do anything at all cost to allow him to give us a new house, a new dwelling place, a fresh start. A new heart. This is only possible to placing faith in Jesus and following Him wholeheartedly. He does not just want to clean your house; he wants to give you a completely new house, a completely new spirit. It never ends there though. Like a new house, much work is required. Paint the walls, landscaping, putting new furniture and décor up. He gives us new life, and asks us to work out what He is working in. To the unbeliever. Jesus can redeem your life and make you new. To the believer, allow God to search the intimate parts of your heart and renew you everyday! He is a good Father.
I love how God uses everyday life to teach us his way.
So I pray.
Lord, glorious King, maker of the Heavens and Earth. I am nothing in your sight. I am humbled by your holiness and know that I have nothing that has not been given. Please open my eyes to the garbage of my soul and renew me to see you love, to be aware of your goodness. May I show that to others and make your name famous with no regards of my own. Bind the spirit of pride and cast it far from me in Jesus’ name. Your love is stronger than death. I accept your love even if I feel like I am unworthy, for you are worthy. In Jesus’ name I magnify and pray. Amen.
Isaiah 26:8; Phil 3