Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Missing The Mark - Part 2

I have received permission from my friend to disclose any personal information she has shared with me. I will give you a little background of the conversations we were having, before I post the e-mail. Over the years we have discussed our struggles with people pleasing, trying to "Obey God" in our own strength, insecurity, judging others, etc. etc. The list can go on. We share everything. Often times we say, if anyone knew this stuff about us, they would think we were awful. We often times confess the motives of our hearts as to why we do the things we do - if we are even aware of those motives. We challenge each other to dig deeper into our hearts to search the things that God sees, and not just what WE WANT to see. The bible says in Jeremiah 17:9

"The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?"

So we have come to a place where we understand that we would be foolish if we thought we knew the motives behind our actions. The Bible is pretty clear here that the heart is deceitful and beyond cure. We understand that ONLY God understands the heart, so we fully trust that HE and only HE will reveal our sin to us - not others view of sin. We will use God's Word as the standard for revealing our sin and not others standards. We know this to be true and yet we still struggle with comparing ourselves to others (whether in a good way OR a bad way). That is a whole other journey the Lord has taken me on and has revealed many scriptures that have pierced my heart, but I do not want to stray too far off the topic of this post.

One particular day my friend called me to confess a sin she felt toward a friend. She confessed of her jealousy over something her friend was blessed with that she could not have. She confessed of the evil thoughts that she had toward her friend. She asked me why I thought it is so easy for our minds to go so astray and think such evil thoughts. I can tell this was really bothering her. Several days prior to this conversation, I had been thinking a lot about sin and my wheels were turning. I was really seeking and praying for God to shed His light on the truth of all this. The next morning I woke up with a flood of thoughts, and when that happens, I know it is God and typically I will journal those thoughts. I do not have anything worthy of writing unless I feel the Lord pressing something on my heart. My journals pretty much consist of writings of when I am extremely frustrated about something, or it is something the Lord had revealed to me - otherwise I feel I have nothing in me. So this particular morning, since the revelation had to do with my friends question, I decided to turn my journal entry into an e-mail to her and then print it out and staple it in my journal. This is the e-mail/journal entry from

April 18, 2007:

"The Lord has brought me to a new level of realization of my sin this morning (and I know it is only the tip of the iceberg). After thinking a little about what sin is and talking a little about it with (friends) last night, my mind was really challenged. I asked (friend) what he thought the definition of sin was, and he said he heard it once said, "Anything that falls short of the holiness of God". That's exactly what I was thinking. SO then if that is our definition, why do we categorize sin the way we do? Just like you felt yesterday about the evil thoughts you had about your friend, and how you were beating yourself up over it. Why do we beat ourselves up over that, but not about witnessing to someone when given the opportunity, or not praying, or reading the Bible, or maybe even just missing an opportunity to serve someone.

I checked out the definition of sin this morning in the Greek. Do you know what it is? It says, "Missing the mark (and so not share in the prize)." You know what that means? It means ANYTHING short of perfection is sin.

I had this awareness of my sin and it brought me to tears while I was praying. I just saw the pride of my past (and my present), to think that I'm not as sinful as I am.

I was thinking about your situation that we talked about yesterday with your friend and why we feel the guilt over stuff like that, and this is what came to mind: Satan wants us to feel guilt over those types of sins because he wants us to BELIEVE we are acting holy when we are not having those thoughts - when in actuality, there is NO part of the day that we are holy, not even if we are in church with our hands lifted high and singing in awe of God - we still miss the mark even then. I talked to Dave about it this morning and his first thought was that we're not ALWAYS sinning, like those times when we are worshiping, but I disagreed. I asked him if at that time of worship, is he loving the Lord with ALL his heart (and that love means loving others as well - love is patient, kind, not self-seeking, not boastful, keeps no record of wrong, etc.). In our flesh, even in those times when we are worshiping and serving, our hearts are still not holy, therefore we have missed the mark, and are sinful.

This verse came to mind:

Romans 12:3

"For by the grace given to me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you."

This verse came to mind months ago, and I knew there was so much more to it than I was seeing. Today, those words jump off the page to me. I see how I have thought more highly of myself than I ought. In relation to the situations like we talked about yesterday (wanting bad things for others), ,we think of ourselves too highly when we think THAT is more sinful than anything else we do. We say sin is sin to God, but we live and feel and act differently. If we had an understanding that just standing there doing nothing (even without any thoughts in our mind) is sinful, because at that moment we still fall short of the glory (holiness) of God.

Check out the surrounding verses:

Romans 12:2-5
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

3For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

God has given us a measure of grace (exactly what that means I do not know, but I understand in part), and I realized once again that it is only His Spirit that reveals truth. When our minds are transformed into the likeness of Christ, and not our opinions, then we will be able to understand God's will. When we understand God's will and His grace, we will not think of ourselves so highly, and understand the sinful flesh we are in. In accordance to the faith that we have at this moment, we need to sow into the Spirit and learn more. This just confirms to me how much we need to just press into God, and stop trying so hard to attain some level of holiness. We will never reach it. God brought to mind the verse in Galatians that says, "It is no longer I that lives, but Christ who lives in me." (Gal. 2:20). It was brought home a little more today than usual. It showed me how much of ME tries to live out this walk instead of Christ through me. When I recognize HOW sinful I am, I realize no matter how much effort I put forth, I will always fall short. So there is only one solution - and it is not to feel guilt - but to recognize that that is why Christ died, and if I just humble myself before Him, and sow into the Spirit, He will work through me - I cannot attain holiness in my own effort. This verse just came to mind:

Galatians 3:2-5

2I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? 4Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? 5Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?

I feel so humbled today - and yet I just know based on past experiences how prideful I actually still am. : ) God is so good, and I am grateful for His Word!"

Well, that ended my e-mail to my friend. As I re-type all those words again, I feel yet humbled some more, and I say again, I know I have so far to go. I want to explain, that although I know it is Christ THROUGH me that completes the work He has called me to do, I began to wonder WHY I felt the conviction to perform so much. I would read the Word and feel convicted that I was NOT living up to holiness, but felt powerless to perform the Lord's commands. The Lord reminded me once again of His precious Word.

Galatians 3:24

24So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. 25Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.

I realized that God's laws are good, and He meant for us to follow them, but He never meant for them to put guilt on us. He never meant for us to perform them in our own strength. He gave them to us to show us HOW far we fall short, so we can see how desperate we need to be for His power to work through us to complete them. Trusting in God does not mean ignoring our sin, nor does it mean to strive harder. It means to submit to His authority and confess every area where we fall short and desperately desire the power that He so graciously gives to every one who accepts Him as Savior and Lord. When I have fallen short of God's glory, I realize that I need His power in me. When others fall short, it is that same power that THEY need. We are so foolish when we judge others for their lack of performance, or judge ourselves for OUR lacking; as if there was anything in our own power that will get us to reach the holiness of God.

My failures are so clearly before me, and as I sit at the throne of grace, I know God in His infinite wisdom and perfect timing, will empower me to perform every task He has called me to do - but He will not empower me until I humble myself and confess my sin. When we see ourselves in light of a holy God, we will not see others sin as the log, but our own. Then, and only then, can we truly see others the way Christ sees them, and love others the way Christ loves them. I am making a habit of confessing every known sin and making a choice to take myself off the throne of my heart, and place Christ back in His rightful place.

I desperately desire to know God and His will for my life, so I will do what His Word says, and seek first His Kingdom, and His righteousness. I continue to pray that the Lord will reveal the thoughts and attitudes of my heart, and I know it would be in my best interest to confess and repent and not try to act like I have it all together. I am SO far from having it all together. This is such an incredible journey and I am eternally grateful for every thing the Lord has allowed to come into my path to teach me who He really is.

~~Trusting that He is who He says He is, and that He will do what He says He will do~~

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Once again I am reminded how seductive Satan is. Thank you and your friend! I really wanted to hear more about what you were saying on the last blog. God is revealing much and binding satan! As I was reading Ephesians came to my mind which says; Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the sheild of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Ephesians 6:10-18.
This offers power against evil but it shows us that we are at war! So why are we not prepared? Because we allow satan to use our guilt, tiredness, frustration, depression and most of all our PRIDE to leak in and cover the truth! Ok as you can guess I am passionate about this. Thank you for your holy insight!
Love ya, KK