As a general rule, I don’t normally think about what goes on in the deep recesses of my heart. Life has its own ebb and flow…from routine to chaotic and back again. After a bit, I start to operate on auto-pilot quite well. Doesn’t sound so very spiritual does it?
One of my favorite verses in the Bible speaks about what kind of condition my heart and spirit should be in on a daily basis…
“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” – Psalm 51:10
Of course, that requires time spent on keeping my heart right with God and before God. Never before have I seen a trash heap grow quicker than the way the stain of the world grows on my heart. Having gotten saved later in life, I had all the “worldly” attributes you could possibly imagine before receiving my Lord Jesus Christ. If it was bad, I had done it and was always on the lookout for something new (worse) to see if I could awaken my jaded senses.
I admit that it’s been eight years, eight wonderful years of growing with the Lord…but daily I let him down by the worldliness that still flows through my veins. I don’t think that I “look” very Christlike on the outside but it’s a whole lot easier to fake a clean heart when you are just looking at the packaging that shows the finished image.
The Word of God says in Matthew 15:11, “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.”
If you were the proverbial fly on the wall around my house you would wonder just what I have been storing up in my heart for the last eight years. Shoot, most of the time I wonder. It actually scares me to realize that even with all the love I feel I have for Jesus, I still can claim that the internal scars are still wet with the poison of the world and it seeps into and then out of my heart to overflow from my lips and actions on a daily basis.
“Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” – Isaiah 6:5
The account in Isaiah 6 amazes me each time I read it. Here is a man, a prophet, called by God to take His Words to a rebellious nation, knowing all too well that they wouldn’t listen anyway. Isaiah however, gets it when He is before God and realizes that he is unclean…things he’s said, thought and done had no place before the Most Holy One! He speaks out and in return one of the seraphim places a hot coal on his lips and purges his sin. Now he is cleansed and ready to serve the Lord.
I fell on a wood stove as a child and burnt my hand badly…to this day I am leery of very hot surfaces. ;) That burned and I couldn’t use my hand for a while. I remember that the burn feeling went deep, like it was so far down that there was nothing that was ever going to stop it. So, in my mind I can imagine what that live coal felt like as it was laid, burning hot, on the sensitive skin of the lips. But think of the relief, the freshness after, knowing that his sin was gone. I’ll bet it was like one of those crisp, fresh breezes you get in the fall but a thousand times more refreshing!
So, I take that passage into my heart and then I fast forward to the book of Ephesians 4:22-24 -
“That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”
Isaiah had been cleansed by a burning coal; I was born again, covered by the blood my Savior spilt on Calvary. When He died for my sins, He died for all of them…past, present and future. God knew every single thing I would do and say my entire life when He placed those sins upon Jesus to remove my stains and forgive my unrighteousness. And yet…
Here I sit, echoing Isaiah’s sentiments with a quivering brow and lip…”I am a woman of unclean lips!” I can sincerely thank the Lord that I am not where I was and that by His grace, I will continue to grow but oh, how I wish I was farther than I am at this point!
The pastor from my church in Titusville used to say that the fruit of the spirit was like a staircase…you move up and down as your growth waxes and wans. I feel as if I have gotten my heel stuck in a couple of the steps and can’t seem to move beyond them.
Knowing what I need to do and actually doing it has always been a struggle for me. I get lazy and tired and of course, I have a million excuses. Thanks be to God that Jesus didn’t trot out a list of excuses when He was consigned to die for my sins. He would have had the right; let’s face it…in the eyes of the world, I’m not worth saving. I am so glad that God didn’t feel that way!
So, as I emotionally beat myself up, there still hides in my heart a tiny ember of hope…God doesn’t just tell me to have a clean heart and to put off the old man, He gives me the prescription that I need to do exactly what He tells me to!
Ephesians 3:18-20 -
“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us…”
Ephesians 4:2-3 -
“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
I don’t think there is a book or chapter in the new testament or many in the old that don’t give us instructions, guidance and ways to follow Jesus; change our behavior and thought patterns and become the child of God that He would want us to be! My God didn’t just say to be holy for He is holy (1 Peter 1:16); He gave us a living example when Jesus walked this earth and then the Holy Spirit imparted the words to men so that I would have the written Word to help me change my ways to be pleasing to Him!
Each time I open the Word of God, that ember sparks and becomes a flame once again. My spirit is renewed and my joy and hope in the Lord are refreshed and renewed by the life-changing power of His Word! I may be emotionally laid out after the punching bag swings back and knocks me down but I am not counted out…with Him, I can get back up, clear my head and step back into the ring; knowing that He is standing in the front of me, deflecting the hits as they come.
Once, tired…now refreshed and looking forward to another round. :D
Till next time…faithwalkin’ :)