Not too long ago I was hit full in the face with the horrific nature of my sinful heart.
I had a situation occur in which I was bitterly disappointed. The details are not as important as my actions which were initially not glorifying to God, but the situation is one that God used to reveal my heart.
Over a period of years I had been working to extricate myself from a certain state of affairs that were like bondage to me. I had made progress but this time I had the solution all planned out. Part of the problem with my solution was that I was tempted to be temporarily dishonest.
When I realized where that was headed I was in the moment – sorrowful. The solution meant freedom and I rationalized that any dishonesty would be only temporary.
The scenario that I envisioned did not pan out the way I wanted it to and my expected freedom did not come to pass. Once again, God said “nope.” I did not understand this – not one bit.
I was so angry at God that He continued to frustrate my attempts to gain my freedom from what felt like slavery to me. This enraged me and I gave full vent to my anger at God over how the situation had worked out. My tirade at not getting my way was terribly sinful.
During those minutes I had a flash of thought that this is what the Hebrews must have felt like every time Pharaoh changed his mind about freeing them to go and worship God.
“Yes! You can be set free from your situation!” And there is rejoicing in the land!
Shortly followed by, “No, not really. Ha Ha! Just kidding!”
Discouraging and infuriating…
I had daily prayed about this circumstance for years and God steadfastly refused me the freedom I so desired in my soul. Once again I saw God’s sovereign hand all over the ruination of my grand plan.
Ah, but my gracious God, who is always working, and always active in refining my heart used this to show me another area of sin I had to deal with. An idol had been made in my heart. I wanted freedom from this particular bondage so badly that I was willing to sin to get it and sinned further when I was denied! The fulfillment of my desire was so important to me that when it did not happen I became enraged.
There is a moment of near perfect clarity for me in a moment like this. I am given a peek through the window of my soul and allowed to see a sliver of my heart as God sees it. This is unbelievably gracious of God, to only reveal a sliver of my ugliness to me. God knows I could not bear to see the total depravity of my heart, He only shows me just enough to remind me of exactly what I am and how far I have to go.
“The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9
In the verse following God says “I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind…” God
allows and even brings things into our lives to reveal to us the idols we have set up in His place. An idol can be a person, thing, or desire that we serve and worship in place of God. These idols are insidious and they lurk in the deepest corners of the heart demanding to be worshipped. They are exposed by the Light of the world as revealed in His Word. They are toppled by returning to our first love, Jesus Christ.
True freedom is not found in relief or release from circumstances! Freedom is found in serving, obeying, and worshiping Christ. I find freedom as I depose the idols that clamor to be served and work to get my thoughts and desires in sync with His again. I find freedom as I agree with Him that I have sinned and that I am in need of salvation as much today as I was 24 years ago.
This freedom is free to me, but cost Him everything. The knowledge of this freedom leaves me chastened and humbled. Experiencing this freedom leaves me joyous and hopeful!
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