I have wept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.
I can’t count the many times I have heard the stories about how Jesus died for my sins. I thought I had understood it, though, it didn’t quite make sense to me what all the fuss was about. A guy died, sure He was the Son of God but people die all the time. Many years I went about almost rolling my eyes when I heard the story again… and again… and again. It was not until I became a cabin leader teaching others the stories when God finally hit me with a brick and I truly “got it.”
“The Lord says: ‘These people come near me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.” Isaiah 29:13
I was retelling what I had heard. I was teaching of God’s amazing grace when I had never truly experienced it to my very core. How often do you just recite what you’ve heard? When we simply recite things we have heard but don’t fully understand them, we do not open the door for the Holy Spirit to join us in that conversation. At the proper time, God will reveal His truths to us and we must be diligently seeking to be changed by Him. If we want to have “got it” moments, we need to rid ourselves of anything that can prevent us from receiving them.
We need to be honest in our faith in order to grow in our faith.
We like to put our best foot forward and present our best selves to the world. We like to exaggerate our stories. We like to make brilliant excuses to justify our choices and convince everyone else to take “our side.” We try to cover up our faults, hide our mistakes and stifle anything that makes us “different.” Though, at the end of the day when we take off that mask, we’re stuck, we’re lost and we’re stagnant in our faith.
We do not grow unless we are honest with ourselves, God and others.
Only then can we be filled by the Holy Spirit and experience that truly amazing grace God has to offer. Are you ready to break down the barrier between what you have heard and what you will discover? Are you prepared to make your faith your own?
What are you hiding?
We all have secrets and mistakes that weigh on our hearts and prevent us from serving God the way we would like to. We can’t simply keep these secrets between us and God, we need to share them, but we need to share them with the right people. Seek out your Barnabas or your Paul and share the baggage that’s weighing on your heart. Free yourself of the temptation to hide your struggles. When you decide to talk to others, you may be surprised by how quickly God answers.
“Return to me, for I have redeemed you.” (Isaiah 44:22)