Galatians 6:1-6 “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 5 For each one shall bear his own load.
Several months ago as our pastor was speaking, I was convicted in my heart. He was speaking about those sins that are not blatant in our lives. Sins that we over look or think that are not that big of deal. I searched my heart and asked the Lord to expose my sin to me. My God is faithful and so over a period of time He did expose sin after sin to me in my life. I began feeling a little overwhelmed by it all. I spent several weeks praying about these sin area's, repenting from them, and learning to apply what the Lord was showing me to my life. As the Lord worked on my heart, there were several sin area's that I realized I had no conviction over. So, I once again began praying that God would show me the truth and how these sins lead to death, the burden that they are, and that He would impart to me His heart toward them. As God showed me in scripture over and over again his Heart, as He spoke to me through out the day and imparted to me, I saw that these sin area's were not just something that I struggled with. These sin area's were idols in my life. I trusted them and put them before God in my life! God imparted to me, and showed me through scripture as well, how he hated these things. I was starting to understand and began hating these things in my own life. They disgust me and I want no part of their filth. I knew that I still struggled with them and that I put them before my God. I saw that through reading my daily devotions and how blindly I was trusting in my sin over my God! It made me angry and disgusted.
So then, this past week I was in my quiet time with God and He brought me to this scripture in Galatians 6. God has been showing me for awhile how he is tired of our idols, our gods, and our secrecy. Especially the sin area's in my own life. So when he brought this scripture to me, I struggled within myself. Let me explain. I have always tried to live an open life. I have wanted to share all that the Lord has shared with me, and that means exposing myself to others. That includes sharpening swords, being vulnerable, and being held accountable. Because whatever you share, others will bring something to build up or challenge that area. Now, I have done this for years one-on-one or in small groups. I have shared when the Lord gives me the heart to share and with those that I have felt comfortable with. Those people who I know understand me and my heart and will be gracious if their is a rebuke or challenge. However, these past weeks God has put it on my heart to share my heart on this blog. I struggled because I know that anyone can read it, and that they probably do not know me or my past or anything for that matter that would validate my character and who I am. Yet, God kept bringing this to my mind. He reminded me of King David and of the Psalms. How David poured out his heart in his sin and his worship. How in the good and the bad, David lived an open life. He was criticized and looked down upon and he was respected and loved. He did not care what others thought of him, even when it came to his relationship with God. He was going to be real and exposed to everyone, not just those who knew Him. So, as the Lord challenged my heart, it began to change.
Those sin area's that I was speaking of a little bit ago, are area's that I have struggled with my whole life. They are not just sin in my life, they are strongholds. As the Lord exposed them in my heart, some were easy to see and other were hard to grasp. I use to struggle with fear, not just a fear of things, but a paralyzing fear that would persuade me. When the Lord brought this to my heart, I easily recognized it. However, not to the extent that He was showing me. This sin area was not new to me. I had dealt with its paralyzing effects years before and had broke the generational curse of this deep rooted fear off of me and my life. I had also broke of other generational curses that were derived from fear and had been walking out of those things as the Lord brought them to me for years. Though I knew this sin in my life and that I needed to put on my armor daily as Ephesians 6:10-20 speaks of, I did not realize that there were still area's of fear I had not dealt with or I had let grow without realization. As the Lord exposed these area's I once again had to gird myself up for battle, because my mind and heart were being attacked. The Lord continued to encourage me in my faith, to lean on Him, to trust in Him, and not in worldly things or others.
Next, God showed me my pride. This one took a little bit for me to understand, for my heart to grasp a hold of. This time, instead of showing me as he did with my fear, he took me to scripture after scripture of people who walked in pride and how God dealt with them, Mordecai, Saul, Daniels dreams, the Israelites over and over, and more. He showed me his heart through scripture and how he reprimanded and dealt with these people or things. God showed me how much he truly detests pride. The more that I read, the more that I began to understand how evil pride was and how God hates it. I asked myself, "Why have I not seen this before?" and "Why didn't anyone tell me how dangerous pride is?", as I spoke of in a previous blog. God answered that I had been told by many people throughout the years, but I had not heard them because I was deaf to their wisdom and that I was blinded by my pride. Through Gods counsel and scriptures I saw how deadly pride is. I knew that if the Lord had not brought this to me, and imparted to me as He did, then I might have been blinded forever. Because, he had already sent others to tell me, but I did not listen. In my pride I did not see my pride! In my sin, I did not see my sin! I Praise God that He brought this to light and helped me to understand!
Finally, one day in prayer God told me that I was being rebellious and it shocked me. I had heard this before from my parents growing up, but I really thought that I had out grown it and also that I had repented of my rebellion. It was not my heart to walk in rebellion when I did, but I still did so then. God showed me that again, I had done the same with Him. So, I asked the Lord to show me my rebellion because I did not see it in my life. At first, I honestly wondered if I had misheard God. Surely, I was not walking in rebellion now. That was something that I knew I dealt with in my past, but I had matured past that point... hadn't I? A lot of the time, when I have my daily devotions with God, I write about what He has shown me, or done in my heart, or something in my personal journal. So, one day I was looking back through my journal trying to find a specific word that God had spoke to me the month before. As I was reading through my devotions, I saw my struggle with disobedience when God asked me to do something. I was either afraid to do what He had asked, trusted in my plan over his own, felt more comfortable with what I wanted to do, or something. I remember I sat there shocked. Yes, I knew I struggled as do others. But man! This had all been during the time period that the Lord was exposing my sin to myself, and I had at least expected more of myself than that. As I thought about it, I realized that I had been been praying about these area's and trying to follow God's direction clearly each time, but I was still missing it! Yes, he might have been teaching me of faith and humbleness during those times, but I still knew the three main area's God had brought before me near the beginning of all this. So why was I still struggling so much in this sin if I was seeking God? Wow. So then, I got serious about this rebellion and disobedience in my life. I knew that in fear I was to have faith in God and that in pride I was suppose to be humble, but what about rebellion. For the life of me, I knew that the answer was easy and on the tip of my tongue, but I just couldn't figure out what I was suppose to be doing that I wasn't already doing when it came to overcoming rebellion and disobedience. I was in the car and praying about this exact thing, a little frustrated with myself that I felt the answer on the end of my tongue and just couldn't spit it out. Then it hit me like baseball ricocheting off a baseball bat, duh! Obedience! God was wanting me to obey Him each and every time. Not just when it was easy, not just when I understood, but ALL the time. Wow, haha, I have no idea why that one was so hard for me to get, but it was. And when it hit me, I felt like the 2nd grader in school who forgot what 2+2 was in front of the whole class.
So after I understood these sin areas in my life the Lord showed me how intermingled they were. When I was struggling with fear, pride or rebellion, that one or both of the others would be present as well. And vise versa. So now, as I search my heart and I see I am struggling with something, I pray about it and try to see what other thing or things I am struggling with as well. I personally believe it is good to know what one struggles with so that you are not blind to your own sin, but so that you can fight that battle and gird yourself up against it. If I am struggling with something then not only do I need to be in prayer about it and seeking God, but I also need to walk with my brothers and sisters in Christ, I need to know what God;s living word is saying to me about it, I need to know what the scriptures are saying about it, and so forth.
In saying all this, *smile* I am going to go back to the scriptures of Galatians 6:1-6. We are called to co-labor with our brothers and sisters in Christ. If I am struggling in fear, pride, or rebellion then those who are more spiritual that I, those of greater spiritual maturity in my understanding, are to help me through those struggles. And the same with me of you. Psalm 141:5 "Let the righteous strike me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head: for yet my prayer also shall be against their evil." 2 Timothy 2:25 "In meekness instructing those that oppose them; if God perhaps will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;"
When helping restore someone, we also have to guard our own heart so that we do not fall into that same temptation and sin ourselves. We are suppose to walk with one another and root for each other. Be the cheer leader and encourage each other in gentleness and meekness! In this we fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 5:14 "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; You shall love your neighbor as yourself." We do not need to think that we are above temptation and sin. We are ALL sinners and we ALL fall short of the glory of God. There are not levels of Christianity, we are the same, ALL sinners and ALL in need of Jesus Christ our Savior. Therefore, I am not better than you and you are not better than I. Even Paul, the writer of the majority of the New Testament, called himself the Chief of Sinners! So take heed the warning as we walk and help one another. Do not be deceived and blind yourselves, because pride comes before the fall. 1 Corinthians 3:18 "Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seems to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise."
As we walk together, we each need to continually search our own heart to make sure they are pure before God. For if one of our brothers or sisters is struggling in an area, and we go to help them, we do not want to fall to temptation or try to pluck the speck out of their eye without pulling the plug out of our own if we are struggling in the same sin (Matthew 7:4). Therefore, if we find our hearts are pure and right, then we can help 'restore' them in gentleness as scripture states. Not to be boastful or proud in ourselves that we are helping our brother and sister, but out of honest love and concern for them. If our hearts are pure we can find confidence in God to work through us to help our brothers and sister in Christ who are struggling. For we each are responsible for ourselves and our hearts to God. Romans 14:12 "So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God."