Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Digging Deeper to the Heart

It's interesting how the Lord sharpens and prunes us .... We begin to pray for transformation in different areas of our lives -- change may be immediate or over time -- but it seems that God usually begins to work on and in us when we least expect it. That's how God has been working in me lately.

I've been struggling with what I thought was self-control or the ability to tame my tongue for who knows how long. I would like to think that on most occasions I do control my tongue, but it's during those moments of frustration, many times unwarranted, with those that I love or during casual conversation with folks that I don't even know very well (strange, I know), that the ugliest parts of me are revealed. The most recent bout of this issue seemed to surface sometime in early November '09 (at least that's when I started journaling about it). I've been deep in scripture, looking for 'remedies' to the problem and praying like crazy, and I thought that I was getting somewhere. But these "instances" continued to surface.

It wasn't until a dear friend of mine called me out and asked me if my issue was really self-control or if it was more deeply rooted than just my tongue; that it was a heart issue. I was kinda caught off guard by her comment and became a bit upset. She began to explain that it sounded like a gospel issue -- that my heart was not reflecting the truth of the gospel. "What do you mean?" I thought. "How could that be, of course I know the gospel. Why wouldn't my heart communicate that?" But when I really thought about it, she was dead on. The root of all my insincere remarks and thoughts, unrighteous anger (as if my anger is ever righteous), and slanderous comments and/or thoughts about others is rooted in my lack of understanding of the gospel.

I call myself a Christian. I believe that I am a sinner and that no matter how hard I try I cannot save myself from my sin (Ephesians 2:8-9). Jesus, God's own Son, who is fully God, is the only perfect sacrifice that can save me and he did, that day on Calvary. He died for me and on the third day when He rose and ascended into heaven, I too was redeemed the day I believed. He made me a new creation and justified me. But scripture is very clear that the change in me cannot stop there. (Colossians 1:9-14; Ephesians 2:10) It's a way of life. Jesus' work on the cross was not just for justification purposes, it was for sanctification purposes too. And if I do not pursue the good works and righteousness that He has set out for me, I am neglecting His gift of sanctification and the chance to become more and more like Jesus during my life here on earth.

Therefore, when I say that I do not truly understand the gospel, it's not a misunderstanding of my salvation, but a lack of understanding of who Jesus is and the ways in which He calls me to be like Himself -- progressive sanctification. Obviously it will take me until heaven to truly understand the gospel -- the time when Jesus will open my eyes and allow me to see His full glory -- but it does mean that I must pursue righteousness that only comes from God and not my own foolishness today and for the rest of my time here on earth (Romans 6:18-19).

As I revisit my struggle in light of the gospel, all I can really say is that whatever comes out of my mouth or the thoughts that I stop from coming out of my mouth; if they're not pleasing to Jesus, I know that my heart needs some work. Self-control is an important discipline, but when the out pour of my heart is evil, it's my heart that needs to be fixed first and then I can visit self-control. If I'm not careful, self-control can just be a pretty mask that hides the evil within my heart.

Since I've come to this realization, the Lord has been faithful to heal and change my heart. I am so thankful that He has opened my eyes to this truth.

I deeply desire to be a godly woman of righteousness and one who possesses discretion and a heart that fully knows the gospel and allows it to permeate in all areas of my life. As women who desire to pursue godliness, I pray too that you would make this a prayer for your life as well. Your situation may look a little different than mine, but I believe that as we point each other to these truths, God will transform us into women that are more and more like Jesus every day, and who could ask for anything better? Philippians 1:9-11 speaks this prayer perfectly:
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ - to the glory and praise of God.


  1. Thanks for posting this. It really spoke to me. I linked you up in my post today.

  2. Wow. This is good. And spot on. I appreciate your honesty very much.

  3. Very. Well. Said. Found this post through Paige's blog. I've been thinking a whole lot for a while now about taming my tongue and not saying things that don't need to be said. But like you mentioned, I end up not saying much but THINKING lots of not nice things. I hear you loud and clear that it's a heart issue. I will adjust my prayers accordingly. Thanks for sharing this struggle so others of us can learn along with you!