I have decided to simply share my journey. Take it or leave it, these are the steps that the Holy Ghost is leading me through, and I believe that they can be of help to others if I just lay it bare without excusing myself.
Over the past months God has been moving on my heart with a desire for holiness. Not a legalistic list of do’s and dont’s. That’s not holiness.
Holiness is coming close to God and thereby distancing yourself from all that keeps you from His intimate presence. It is simple. If you want to see God you will have to turn your eyes away from other things.
“Follow… holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:”(Hebrews 12:14 KJV)
You cannot look with longing upon the world, and at the same time gaze in the opposite direction toward your Papa. There is a de-cision to make, a cutting away and slicing off of things that are contrary to your Godly pursuit.
Sanctification means to be set apart.
Set apart FROM those things that tie you to the world.
Set apart FOR the Lord and His purposes.
These two aspects taken together comprise the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. Focusing on just one side of the coin will not yield the results you crave. You can confess, claim and spout positivity all you like, but if you harbor hatred and strife in your heart your efforts will be largely fruitless.
Repentance is, unfortunately, an unpopular word in today’s comfort-driven culture, yet in pushing it aside or keeping it under wraps we are pushing away the goodness of God.
Scripture teaches that it is God’s goodness that leads us to repentance:
“Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” (Romans 2:4 KJV)
My perspective on repentance has changed dramatically over the course of this season walking with Jesus. Every season brings new revelation, new experiences. I now understand repentance to be His invitation to intimacy. His goodness attracts our heart and urges us to forsake all other lovers.
Our Papa earnestly longs to make Himself known to you, and jealously yearns to draw you close to Himself.
“The Spirit Whom He has caused to dwell in us yearns over us and He yearns for the Spirit [to be welcome] with a jealous love?” (James 4:5 AMP)
Repentance in the original Greek literally translates as “to change one’s mind”. It is an inward turning away from sin and toward God, with the emphasis being on turning toward God. When we do this, sin loses it’s grip on our affections. God Himself is so utterly attractive, so supremely beautiful, that all else looks like dung in comparison.
“Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,” (Philippians 3:8 KJV)
The Valley of Deception
I am personally so aware of the gulf that exists between some of what I claim to believe, and what I actually believe. My words and actions betray what I believe, and reveal what’s really in me. Recognizing this this not a bad thing. It is not a reason for sadness, guilt or self-reproach. It is a reason for rejoicing.
Deception works most effectively when it is unseen. It begins to lose power when it is bought to the light. Oh, beautiful repentance! God's goodness shines on our life and exposes places previously hidden in darkness. We can misunderstand this marvelous work of the Holy Ghost and seek to scuttle back into the shadows, or we can welcome Him and let His light search our inner being through every nook and cranny.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalms 139:22–24 KJV)
James speaks of the valley when he says:
“Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” (James 1:21–22 KJV)
In areas where we claim to believe the Word of God, but act, feel and think contrary to what it teaches, we have set up camp in the valley.
Grace, Grace, Grace
The journey toward integrity, pulling the Truth and our present reality closer together, begins with repentance. This is so much more than just seeking a better understanding of the Bible, or forcing our will to conform to the Scriptures. It is a work of God’s grace in our heart drawing us close to Him.
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” (Titus 2:10–14 KJV)
Grace does not excuse sin, it gloriously equips us to forsake it!
Grace does not pander to our comforts and caress our compromises. Grace gently overturns the hardened soil of our hearts, exposing every stone and evil weed that has sucked the life from our soul.
Grace skims the scum from the surface so the gold of Christ’s life inside can shine.
Grace leads us into the wonder of intimacy with God, and reveals the beauty of holiness to our heart.
God’s grace pulls the valley together, filling the gap. Our inward and outward life join as one. The Word becomes flesh.
My inner man craves more of God.
I have to tell myself again and again not to concern myself with what others think, do or say. Ideas abound surrounding almost every doctrine you can think of, but I don’t any longer want to get entangled in the confusion of wondering if this way of doing things is right or wrong.
I have found that the Holy Spirit masterfully messes with my dearest held doctrines, leading me further into a life infused with heaven’s breath. At times He will move my heart to confessions of faith, and at others He will tug me towards confession of sin. It is a personal walk we enjoy with our Savior, not a system or a collection of spiritual processes.
Our salvation is worked out uniquely and individually with fear and trembling, and in each season He leads us in His chosen way toward knowing How more fully. He first works in us, before any outward show of His power and presence in our life can be manifest. Deeper leads to higher.
“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12–13 KJV)
Never shy away from the inward work and conviction of the Holy Spirit. It is His gracious wooing to a deeper and more satisfying walk with God.