Saturday, August 5, 2017

Stopped in My Tracks

This blog serves two purposes--one greater than the other. It allows me to share God's work in my heart and life. More than that, I pray it encourages you. Although our circumstances, personality and geography are different, based on 1 Corinthians 10:13, I believe we share similar struggles and victories.

Today I am tired of being me. Knowing my personal struggles, I have been asking God to help me grow in identifying and addressing it. That itself was my prayer: Lord, please humble me and make me aware of my sin, teach me how to confess to others, and give me the willingness to walk in repentance. There was no glaring, hidden sin, no specific hole, but because I'm still in this process called, "life," sin is part of every day. He has answered my prayer. And I don't want to be me anymore.

Jerry Bridge's book, Transforming Grace, has been a textbook guide through Scripture. My conscience was pricked in numerous ways as I studied Marriage and Family Counseling this last semester. And, now, after attending Family Camp under sound biblical teaching, I have been brought to my knees. These last months accountability partners have walked with me in whether I'm addressing sin or pride and whether or not I've followed through, our local church has ministered regularly, and God has faithfully provided opportunities to practice.

And as I contemplated where to go from here, tired of being me, I wondered if doing nothing at all would be best. If I stopped doing I would be more aware of Jesus' finished work instead of my efforts. If I stopped serving I could avoid comments that feed sinful pride. If I stopped altogether....

But giving would still be self-dependent. It would be my idea instead of God's. It wouldn't require His enabling and empowering to endure. But. it. might. be. easier.

Instead, He calls me to receive His forgiveness and cleansing by faith (1 John 1:9). He chooses to restore and use me with a greater awareness of my failure and sin than before (like Peter after his betrayal in John 21:15-19). We all have faults--hidden and overt--and that's the glory of God. We can't do, won't do, life for His glory apart from Christ. And that's exactly the way it should be.

Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness;
According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity
And cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
And my sin is ever before me.
Against You, You only, I have sinned
And done what is evil in Your sight,
So that You are justified when You speak
And blameless when You judge.

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.
Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being,
And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.
Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me to hear joy and gladness,
Let the bones which You have broken rejoice.
Hide Your face from my sins
And blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
And sustain me with a willing spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners will be converted to You.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation;
Then my tongue will joyfully sing of Your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
That my mouth may declare Your praise.
16 For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it;
You are not pleased with burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
18 By Your favor do good to Zion;
Build the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then You will delight in righteous sacrifices,
In burnt offering and whole burnt offering;
Then young bulls will be offered on Your altar. Psalm 51 NASB

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