The Real Me

23 07 2014

One of the fellows from our home group prayed an excellent prayer this week:

I want it to be the real me talking to the real You, Lord.

It’s easy to be deceived about ourselves and what is going on in our hearts.

Further, we’re quick to believe the worst about God, without ever questioning whether what we believe is true.

Combine the two, and we have a life that is based on lies.

No wonder we build walls between God and us.

The “god” whom we serve is largely one that we’ve pieced together through the filter of our lives: personified by our father-figures (which can include spiritual leaders, teachers, and other authority figures), and what we’ve deduced from both pleasant and painful experiences.

Without a relationship with Him, and a working knowledge of the Bible, these things can leave us with a skewed understanding of the character and nature of God.

From this vantage point, the words of James 1 ring hollow:

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights – Who doesn’t have a dark side. (paraphrase mine)

Really? Then why? Why don’t You fix this mess. Why have You allowed it to go on for so long? Why do You insist that I continue on this path?

This brings about what Henry Blackaby referred to as a “crisis of faith.”

Will I leave the Lord? Will I stay?

(You, of course, realize that God is being blamed for everything. That lets me off the hook. I bear responsibility for neither the problems, nor their solutions.)

One major area for which I am responsible is this:

Speak the truth in love.

When fear dominates a life, this command sounds like “jump to the moon and back.”

The first time we do, though, and we don’t die it feels like we just walked on water!

The Lord is using current issues to reveal more of the lies I’ve believed about Him. He is exposing areas where I absolutely do not trust Him…sad, but true.

I have tons of faith in His ability to make “crooked places straight and rough places smooth” for others; for me? Not so much.

It’s time for this ‘adopted’ child to learn something new about my Father. He is unlike my earthly father-types. Altogether different.

He can always be trusted.

I love His patience as He walks me through my unbelief, strewing my path with evidence of His great love for me, and of His good heart.

I know I shall come forth refined a bit more, able to reflect His light to the world a bit better.

Until that time, I add a hearty “AMEN!” to my friend’s prayer:

I want it to be the real me talking to the real You.

*****

Hey, if you struggle with unbelief as I do, check out the song in “Music for Your Soul” (see the menu at the top of the page). The song is entitled, “Help My Unbelief.” 🙂





No Blood, Guts, or Gore Required

9 08 2013

A study of the tabernacle is very fascinating. Every detail speaks volumes concerning spiritual truths.

We spent several months going over the various elements in our home group. My husband purchased a model of the tabernacle so we would have it as a visual aid while we studied. It was a fun study, and we spent the first two nights painting and erecting our set. It also came with figurines of priests, cows, and sheep.

At the same time, he and I were reading Experiencing the Cross by Henry Blackaby. One of the topics in this book is the cost of sin. This, we realized, was clearly demonstrated day after day in the tabernacle – then later the temple as countless animals were slain.

Why all the blood, guts, and gore?

Sin is a gory, bloody mess to God. Through animal sacrifices, God gave us a clear visual of the seriousness of sin…it brings death. At the same time, He used the daily sacrifices to help us understand that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.

Once our model was completed, we set the furniture in place, as well as the priests and animals. We set some of the sheep and bulls on the little tables, and set the bent-over priests next to them as if they were inspecting them.

As Wendel read out of Blackaby’s book, I saw what was being displayed in a very different way. Along with the mental image came the verse: Present yourselves as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable act of worship.

Suddenly I understood what He’d been teaching me:

I am the lamb on that table.

I need to be examined for spots and blemishes…

…not so I can be rejected as unworthy,

nor so I can be killed to pay for my sins.

Instead,

I am there as a living sacrifice.

The Holy Spirit is the One examining me,

bringing to light anything for which I need to repent.

When the inspection is done, I am released!

Jesus already paid the price for my sin; but I am to be holy and acceptable. When I submit to this inspection and correction, it is an act of worship unto the Lord.

Furthermore, I saw that while man (the priest) looks at the outward appearance, God (through His Spirit) looks at the heart.

God used the combination of the model of the tabernacle and the Scripture to give us a better understanding of His truth.

I’m so thankful that, unlike the lambs, goats, and cows, I will arise from

the inspection table

alive

– and hopefully –

“altared”

(okay, changed! :))

With a heart that has been cleansed, I am less conformed to the world – and more transformed by the renewing of my mind so that I can prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Father, thank You for loving us and sending Jesus to die in our place. I am so grateful that You are faithful to complete the work You’ve begun in us. Help us to present softened hearts that can be quickly cleansed. Renew our minds, lead us into a better understanding of Your Word. May all we do, say, and even think bring glory and honor to Your great name this day.

In Jesus’ name, 

Amen

\o/