I love when God leads me on a journey to learn more about Him and uses the people I love to confirm the season for the lesson He wants to teach me. The past couple of weeks, I have been learning about the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which takes place the 7 days following Passover. As I have learned that leaven relates to sin in our lives, I have been seeking God’s help to surface the areas deep within my heart that He wants to reveal and clean. As best as I can understand it, the Feast of Unleavened Bread relates to the process of sanctification – God emptying me of all the old – my dying to self, so that He can fill me completely with Himself – Christ in me – Pentecost.
For the past two months, I have been memorizing Psalm 26, and I am encouraged with the realization that He led me to memorize this chapter during this specific season. While at the time that I started memorizing it, I didn’t quite understand exactly why He led me to that particular chapter – it is now beginning to make a lot more sense. I finished memorizing it a couple of weeks ago, and I have been chewing on the first two verses ever since – “Judge me, O God, for I have walked in my integrity. I have also trusted in the Lord; therefore, I shall not slide. Examine me, O God, and prove me. Try my reins and my heart.”
These two verses are about God purifying me, and they perfectly line up with not only the Feast of Unleavened Bread, but also with the prayer strategy I am studying today -“purity.” I just love how God does that – there are truly no coincidences with Him!
Although I have experienced tremendous victories through Christ in overcoming addictions, fits of rage, and unforgiveness, there are still a lot of the old behaviors God is still purging in my life. I know I will not be a finished project until I see Jesus Christ face to face, but I earnestly seek His help as I further choose to submit myself to the process of sanctification. As I learn about my authority as a child of God, I also realize that although it cannot be earned, it also cannot be fully appreciated nor will it ever be taken serious by the enemy if I am not walking in obedience to the Word of God – hence “abiding in Christ.”
God has already peeled away many layers of sin that once covered my heart, but I recognize that there are deeper areas of sin that have been camouflaged by the addictions and anger I once struggled with – specifically – a critical spirit, a self-righteous attitude, pride, and religion – all of which God abhors.
As I am learning to daily pick up my cross, God is beginning to reveal areas He wants to “try and prove”…places where He wants my attitude and my heart to line up more with His Word – specifically, learning to love others and see people the way He does…and teaching me how to respond to the discernment He gifted me with through deeper prayer and spiritual warfare. Addiction and rage were just outward manifestations of my inwardly rotten heart – once full of bitterness, resentment, negativity, unreal expectations on myself and others, pride, fear, and manipulation.
Although I have sown chapters of Scripture into my heart as I have memorized them – they do me no good if I don’t put them into practice. God wants me to activate the knowledge He has given me by walking in wisdom – allowing the mirror of His Word to actually be the reflection that helps me adjust my flesh to it. As God’s Word examines my heart, the Holy Spirit tries and proves my heart by allowing me to encounter situations to surface my old nature and convicts my heart to realize His nature and follow it accordingly.
Every thought and reaction I could possibly think or make within my day, is a call to actually do what the Bible commands in II Corinthians 10:5 – before I speak or act, I MUST examine the word I want to speak or the action I plan to take to determine whether or not it lines up with God’s Word….this is the place where I must “cast down every imagination that exalts itself against the knowledge of God and to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” If it isn’t true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, or praise worthy- then I must expose it for the sin it truly is and allow the Holy Spirit to help me bring my flesh under the submission of God’s Word. This is the place where I MUST participate to the process of sanctification – one that I cannot do without the help of the Holy Spirit – but a process I MUST allow in order for God to be completely glorified in my life.
“Father, I thank You that You have set me free from all condemnation. I thank You that Your Spirit gives me life and that You have set me free from sin and death (Romans 8:1-2). I thank You that Your grace extends beyond the cross – not only giving me eternal life but also the grace to be transformed by Your Word. I thank You for Jesus Christ, Who bore my sins on the cross, so that I could be dead to sin and alive in Your Righteousness. I thank You that the wounds Jesus Christ bore were for my healing – complete physical, emotional, and spiritual healing that you have given me – a once lost sheep that You have returned to Your fold (I Peter 2:24-25).
Father God, teach me how not to let sin reign in my mortal body any longer. I present my entire self to You as an instrument of righteousness – in and through You. Sin is no longer my master because I am under Your grace (Romans 6:12-14). Thank You for the Holy Spirit, Who helps me walk out the life You have called me into, where I no longer have to carry out the desires of my flesh (Galatians 5:16). The life I once lived produced nothing but death. The life I now live, as I have been liberated from sin and become enslaved to You, is producing life-giving fruit – the fruit of righteousness – my sanctification. For I am earning the wages of eternal life – not by my actions – but through my faith in Jesus Christ and living under the grace You have freely given me in Jesus Christ (Romans 6:21-23).
Thank You for the testimony of Jesus Christ, Who has already overcome every temptation that I will ever face. You are faithful, God, and You provide me a constant escape from any sin I will ever be tempted with – Jesus Christ – my Hope – thank You for giving me endurance (I Corinthians 10:13). Please help me to stand with my loins girded about with Your Truth and my heart protected and guarded by Your Breastplate of Righteousness (Ephesians 6:14). I know that the enemy will be allowed to sift me, but You have promised that my faith will not fail, as Jesus Christ is constantly interceding on my behalf, and the Holy Spirit is teaching me how to be obedient to Your Word (Luke 22:31-32).
Although my flesh and my heart may fail at times, You are the Strength of my heart and my Portion (Psalm 73:26). You know perfectly well how to rescue me from all temptation (II Peter 2:9). Abiding in Your Word is the covering I can always depend upon. Your Truth is my Shield and Buckler. You are trustworthy and faithful. Help me to be obedient to Your Word and to live underneath the umbrella of obedience to You and You alone (Psalm 91).”