It was an easy message to listen to. Interesting, factual, hitting the mark, but not causing me to squirm. I felt pretty confident that I was doing alright in this particular area.
I know that sin can camouflage itself, hiding behind self-righteousness, so I dare not assume there is nothing in me that is out of order. Time to pray: "Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me. And lead me in the way everlasting." Psalm 139:23-24
Whew! Nothing there, this time. Not so far as I can tell.
I have prayed this prayer before and been completely surprised. I have sat through whole teachings, my heart unmoved. Enjoying what was said. Learning from what was taught, but not convicted until I prayed. And suddenly I realized there was something there and I didn't know it!
It is like the story the pastor told.......(I loved this story, by the way!)
"A man was on a trip away from home. He wanted to buy a present to take back home to his wife. He went to a perfume counter and asked the clerk for suggestions. She recommended a fragrance that was very nice. The price was $75. He asked her if she had anything cheaper. She brought out another fragrance. The price was $50. Again he thought it too expensive. So she brought out a bottle that was $20. 'Do know of anything cheap?' She brought out a mirror from under the counter so that he could see his reflection."
Sometimes I need the Lord to bring a mirror out from under the counter to reveal my heart to me. Others can see when I am selfish, proud, unforgiving, gossipy, hateful, and rude. Sometimes I am instantly aware of my misaligned heart and I grieve and repent immediately. Other times it takes awhile. Some of the hidden things in my heart have taken years to come out of their hiding place. God in His mercy!
It can be very intimidating to ask the Lord to reveal the muck of my heart. Very scary indeed. It is a prayer that I have known Him to be faithful to answer. He loves to sweep the chambers clean.
But I have found it a liberating prayer. It is painful and there are tears when stuff hides inside, but there are tears of liberty when it is exposed. I would rather have have the tears of liberty.
Repentance is sweet! Freedom follows! One once captive takes flight!
The Lord once revealed that I hated someone! HATED someone!!!! I was devastated at the thought. It was someone that I was supposed to love and honor, show respect, but the Lord exposed the truth of my aching heart. It hurt so much because I hated so much!!!!
I began to sob when the Lord notified me of my condition! I could not hold back the flood! My heart was completely devastated over my sin!
I asked the Lord to have mercy and forgive me.
I chose to forgive the hated one that day. I released them from my hatred. Feelings followed.
When we forgive in faith, out of obedience, feelings will catch up as we heal.
I was washed clean that day. All I wanted to do was dance! I confessed my sin to a couple of trusted friends. I repented. They prayed for me. And I was completely and totally set free! I felt like the man who had been lame that sat begging at the temple gate in Acts chapter 3. Once his feet were set free to dance, he couldn't hold back! Healing had come! He didn't need to be in a beggar's position anymore! That was how I felt! Ready to dance in my healed state, exposing my untangled, liberated heart!
Sometimes the message doesn't FEEL good! The Lord exposing my hate did not feel good! But it HEALED GOOD!
When He exposes, it is not to condemn but to deliver.
"I have been delivered, oh, praise the Lord! I have been delivered by His Word. The chains are broken and I am set free.......!"
So I invite Him to come and hand me a mirror so that I can see what is in this heart of mine. And I am willing for the time of cleaning to come. Prepare to see me dance!
"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." Psalm 51:10