The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?
Jeremiah 17:9 (ESV)Do you ever have those moments in your life where God shows you once again just how wicked your heart is? I had one of those moments today. I don't want to go into detail...but I was stewing in anger about something that happened to me...and I was stewing on it all morning. Do you know what I mean by "stewing" in this context? I mean, I was really thinking about the thing that made me angry...and thinking about it so much, that I was letting myself get angrier and angrier. Have you ever noticed how we as sinful people seem to relish getting angry? We love the feeling it gives us...but at the same time, I also find myself hating it. Am I the only person who finds himself feeling this way? I hate it because I know it's wrong...I know I shouldn't be letting myself dwell on my anger...but my flesh wants it so badly, that it clings so strongly to it.
This was the war that was going on in my mind this morning. I kept praying, asking God to help me move on...I tried to redirect my thoughts toward other things...but my flesh kept going right back to it. Eventually, after a few hours of this war going on in my mind...God just broke me. And though no audible voice spoke to me...God showed me in that moment that He was using this struggle to remind me just how desperately wicked my heart is. And while this realization hurt like crazy...and I wanted to cry...I was so happy that God reminded me of this.
I am so thankful that God is in the business of growing believers. I'm reminded of this verse:
...we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:10My whole life as a believer in Jesus is a life of growing in sanctification. Each day God is working in me to grow me. It's a cooperative effort, though. He works in me, but I also seek growth through the Word, prayer, church, etc.
But, today I was reminded once again of just how thankful I am that God works in me to grow me. He doesn't leave me on my own...but He's constantly pursuing me...and His pursuit of me reminds me that I am His child. And I'm going to end this post with a text that points to this truth...of God pursuing His children...and of the fact that this process if painful...but it is so good:
Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.