Wednesday, March 18, 2015

In Prayer God Will Address Our Failure (PrayerLife)

Recently I heard from a friend who was praying and God confronted them with some unrighteous behavior they were engaging in. This broke their heart.

As I heard this I thought, "This is good. Thank you, God, for doing this for my friend!"

This reminded me of an old television commericial for "Mennen Skin Bracer" after shave. It showed a man in a bathroom, looking into the mirror. He'd just finished shaving, took a bottle of Skin Bracer, poured some on both palms, and rubbed it onto his face. As soon as he did this a hand came out of the mirror and slapped his freshly anointed cheeks. The man said, "Thanks, I needed that!" That's how bracing and refreshing Skin Bracer was supposed to be. It gave the man a wake-up call.

Many times, while praying, I have had a divine "Thanks, I needed that!" experience. God points out something inside me that is spiritually diseased. When this happens I write it down in my journal in words like... "God, You have just searched out my heart and shown me something that needs to be removed." This could be pride, a bad attitude, hatred, lust, envy, covetousness, jealousy, a controlling spirit, lack of compassion, or resistance to God. A revelation of my inner garbage has often been accompanied by a sense of brokenness and grief.

In 45 years of following after Jesus God has uncovered all of these things and more, within me. This is good. When this happens (and it will if you continue to meet one-on-one with Him) it is another "Thank You God" moment. God rescues me again from myself.

Over the years I've met many who fear meeting with God because of this. They are like the person who fears going to the doctor because an illness might be discovered. We need to remember that living under the illusion of health (called "denial") is to be on a road to spiritual disaster.

While we may not like being told "You are sick," we should be glad for the exposing of sickness when it is there. The revelation of inner sin-disease is the beginning of its removal, by God. God never shows us our failure only to leave us in that miserable place. That would be like a doctor who diagnoses but does not cure.

When God shows me something inside that is not of Him it is not accompanied by condemnation. People do that; God does not. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). God comes to rescue us, to save us from ourselves. We may not have even thought we needed a rescue. Then, as we meet with Him for another praying hour, God-as-Great-Physician identifies a spiritual cancer, operates, and bathes us with radiating, healing love. This breaks our hearts. We see that it is very good. We cry out, "Thank You God, for doing this for me!"