These past few months have been a dry spell spiritually for me. Before today, perhaps I would have waffled about the reason-hemmed and hawed and made excuses- but the truth is it was simply unrepentant sin. There are habits in my life that God has asked me to let go of, and I had not fully let go- until now.
Several lessons have been learned in this season- one of the greatest for me is simply to stop trying to do this on my own. Even when God asks me to let something go- he doesn’t expect me to go off on my own- to say “I’ve got this”- and come back once I have it handled. I walk in that process with him. He enables us to obey as we place our trust in him.
That means in those moments of weakness I simply must acknowledge my need and ask for the courage to obey him and turn away from sin.
What prompted this turn around for me?
In part, meditation and study of Mark 4:24-25. One of the Bible studies that I attend has been studying Mark, and in the context of Jesus’ parables and exhortation- “Pay attention to what you hear,” my spiritual ears did indeed hear, and my heart softened and turned.
And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you. 25 For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”
We have a choice to put into practice what God teaches us through his Word.
He gives us insight, he teaches us and guides us. But this truth can be lost if we fail to live it. Just as James 1 warns us:
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
And I was reminded of scriptures that are sweet to my soul- talking about God’s Word and the blessedness of it.
My soul is satisfied as with a feast…
Your love is better than life…
Lead me in the path of your commandments for I delight in it…
And I acknowledge that this is hard. This reprogramming of my brain to not fight against the work of God in my life but to actively join in with it. This habit of sinfulness and selfishness in me has to slowly die to his righteous law- to his Lordship of my life.
I know that my fight with sin will not be over in this life- it will rage on and on.
I want to participate in it- to be actively and openly inviting God into all those secret places where the lies have gotten stored up. I want his truth to penetrate it all. And it will be painful, and it will be hard. But it will also be gloriously freeing, and the blessedness of drawing nearer to my Savior- I know in my heart that once I surrender, I will not miss these things that distract and tempt me away from God.
Once I give Him that piece of me I will not regret entrusting Him with more.
In closing- I invite you to meditate on one of my favorite hymns- becoming dearer and dearer as I walk on this journey of life with my Savior. Drink in each verse, slowly savoring each sip.
- ’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
And to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er;
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!
- Oh, how sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust His cleansing blood;
And in simple faith to plunge me
’Neath the healing, cleansing flood!
- Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease;
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace.
- I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that Thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end.