Last week, I said that, more often than not, I feel like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. It just doesn’t work, no matter how hard I try. But, wouldn’t you know it, God is showing me this week how rounded my square sides can be.
Amazingly enough, I’m still human. And my very human self has some very dark tendencies. Desires. Thoughts. I try so hard to cover them up and pretty them up, but there they are, dirty, rotten, and just plain ugly.
The discontent I’ve glossed over? It’s still an open wound, festering until I’m ready to admit that I need healing.
The greed I harbor and call, “simple wishes?” God calls it darkness, and it makes me an idolater, worshipping the things of this world (Ephesians 5:5, NLT).
And the frustrations I feel when nothing goes my way, when others seem to be getting all that I want and desire? Yeah, I’m called to, “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21, NLT).
Y’all. My hang ups and bang ups aren’t any different than anyone else’s. And in my arrogance, I’ve acted like my farts don’t stink (and that’s hardly the truth! Just ask my dear hubby!)
This week? God is showing me the crud that has built up in my life, like a varnish that was supposed to add luster to wood that now just looks gross. Seriously, guys, I just looked gross. But God, in His graciousness, is working to strip that varnish away. There are layers here. Ugly, gross layers.
Layers that I’d rather not talk about, much less actually deal with.
But this is the promise that I hold onto, the verse that God has been making real to me, the hope that this stripping away of myself is worth is: “If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you” (Proverbs 1:23, ESV).
If I hope to continue to create in the Spirit, if I desire for Christ to be shown in my life, if this creative life is to have a purpose, then I have to be willing to turn away from my sin when God leads.
And that’s really the key: when God leads. It’s not enough for me to know that sin is in my life. It’s not enough for me to know all the right verses and say the right things. It’s not enough for someone to point out that I’m sinning, either, even when it’s with the right intentions. Only the Spirit can lead us to true repentance, just like we are the only ones who can truly be ready to turn from the things that He points out.
It’s not enough to be willing to turn away from the practices and the selfish desires, either. Sometimes, we just have to wait until the Spirit leads us. We can know to do right, but if it’s with the intention of just doing better without having that heart and mind stripped clean, then it will continue to be fruitless.
In other words, if I’m working in my own will, then nothing that I do will last. Nothing that I do will ever be good enough. I’m more likely to fail, more likely to fall, and more likely to become frustrated in all of my failings.
But? Every time that I allow the Spirit to lead, every time that He takes over, my good intentions are multiplied with His power, and things can actually change.
My life, when Spirit-led, can actually become a thing of beauty. A masterpiece. God’s masterpiece.
Let this encourage you, not discourage you. God knows all of the ways you feel like a failure. All of the things you wish you did better. He isn’t finished with you yet. He isn’t done, even when you’re ready to throw in the towel on yourself.
“And I am certain that God, who began a good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns” (Philippians 1:6, NLT).
Go with grace, friends.