Well, what do you know?

Ever had a moment of when something about yourself became crystal clear in an instant, like the proverbial light switch flipped to on? It happened to me yesterday when someone made a casual remark about something in my life that is less than it ought to be. My first impulse was to raise a defense, to say “That’s not true!,” to offer excuses. I did not do that, though. I chose to think about it, to process it, to ask God prayerfully to guide me to change. It’s not a huge thing, but it was enough to make the night a restless one. Ever been on that journey?

Those who would be mature and productive must grow in self-awareness, understanding the who, the what, the why about themselves, which is a lot simpler to write about than it is to do.  We need to ask ourselves, from time to time, “What is going on in my brain?  Why am I saying that, doing this, chasing that goal?” This grasp of who we truly are gives us great freedom, but it is purchased at a high price. We have to be willing to face the fact of our human imperfection. We will need to submit to the scrutiny of others, both God, the Holy Spirit, and trusted friends. We will have to be willing to change, and most of us resist that ‘until the pain of remaining the same exceeds the pain of change.’  

Here is the wonderful fact about growing emotionally and spiritually as a follower of Christ: you have a Trusted GuideJesus was speaking with His friends the night before He went to the cross. He spoke at length about the coming Holy Spirit of Whom He said. “Instead, you are very sad. But it is actually best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Counselor won’t come. If I do go away, he will come because I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convince the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment.” (John 16:6-8, NLT)

Oh, there is so much more I want to tell you, but you can’t bear it now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not be presenting his own ideas; he will be telling you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring me glory by revealing to you whatever he receives from me. All that the Father has is mine; this is what I mean when I say that the Spirit will reveal to you whatever he receives from me.” (John 16:12-15, NLT)

God sees us as we truly are, not just in the context of a moment, but in the totality of our lives. He knows our DNA, our family history, our experiences, our successes, our failures, our training, and our abilities. He comes us to as Love, not to destroy us, but to save us and make us whole. Foundational to true spiritual transformation is the faith that accepts this truth – God is for me, not against me.  The Cross of Christ is the testimony of His love, the reason we can lean into Him Presence and pray for transformation. Meditate on this: “Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. …  All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” (John 6:35-37, NIV)

As we live in that place of full acceptance as a child of God, we can let Him reveal our secrets to us – the good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly –  which He does by the work of His Spirit, by the truth of His Word, and through the community of the Church.  I should not imply that this is all a terrible or painful process.  Yes, the conviction of the Holy Spirit, those moments when He touches something in us that is less than God’s desire, is often hard. But, we need not experience His corrections as condemnation.  We need not wallow in guilt, hide in shame, or run to the dark from His Presence in such moments. The Garden Story of Genesis shows us that mistake when Adam and Eve hid from the Lord. Instead, we open up to Him in transparency – “here I am, just as I am.” 

The whole of this truth is that we are ‘clothed in the righteousness of Christ’ even as we are becoming more like Him. We exist in a ‘now and not yet’ world, one where Christ has completely saved us from sin and death by His grace gift, but where we are still saints under construction who are ‘being saved’ into His likeness.  Here is great sustaining truth for the battle for holiness – “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, (will)   give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints… ” (Ephesians 1:17-18, NIV)

Give thanks today for His love – that He loves you enough to call you to change and loves you patiently through the up’s and down’s of the process. Take hold the hope – there is a glorious freedom for the children of God.

The word from the Word is the testimony I hold. May it be yours as well. “I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it. ” (Philippians 3:12-16, The Message)

Graves Into Gardens

I searched the world but it couldn’t fill me
Man’s empty praise and treasures that fade
Are never enough
Then You came along and put me back together
And every desire is now satisfied here in Your love

Oh there’s nothing better than You
There’s nothing better than You
Lord there’s nothing
Nothing is better than You

I’m not afraid to show You my weakness
My failures and flaws
Lord You’ve seen them all
And You still call me friend
‘Cause the God of the mountain
Is the God of the valley
And there’s not a place
Your mercy and grace won’t find me again

You turn mourning to dancing
You give beauty for ashes
You turn shame into glory
You’re the only one who can

You turn graves into gardens
You turn bones into armies
You turn seas into highways
You’re the only one who can

Brandon Lake | Chris Brown | Steven Furtick | Tiffany Hudson
© 2019 Brandon Lake Music (Admin. by Bethel Music Publishing)
Music by Elevation Worship Publishing (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC)
Maverick City Publishing Worldwide (Admin. by Heritage Worship Publishing) Bethel Music Publishing CCLI License # 810055

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