I have been pulling, pushing, running away from, going around, skipping through, standing still, and racing with God my whole life. It wasn’t until a few short years ago I started walking with God. Yet even after giving my life to Christ, the concept of an ongoing journey with God was a challenge. I had spent so many years running away from God; running towards God is like retraining lazy muscles for an extreme weight lifting competition.
My relationship with Christ started out with fervor and excitement, yet it quickly became another facet in my busy life. The most challenging part of my walk was quiet time with the Lord. I met with God every Sunday and Wednesday at church and I attended all the youth conferences and seminars but that daily connection with God was almost non-existent. One week my Bible reading was exciting and fresh and the next it is lackluster and boring. Praying was even worse. I loved talking with God when I needed something from Him, but it was in those humdrum times I found it hard to find any words.
It was sorta like an awkward conversation with a friend you haven’t seen in many years. You sit there thinking of things to say, but nothing sounds good in your head so you make small talk that means nothing relevant. Or even worse you simply say nothing at all.I was the one to say nothing at all. It was easier to remain silent then actually open my lazy tongue and talk with God. I didn’t know how to pray, in fact, I didn’t know how to truly read God’s word either. I skimmed through the chapters, caught an appealing verse here or there, but the only thing I gained was sore eyes.
There is a difference between reading the Bible like a text book and truly consuming the Word of God just as there is a difference from small talk and a truly intimate conversation. I read the Word like a boring school book and talked with God like an awkward acquaintance. Bottom line: I didn’t know how to pursue God. After three years of “walking” with God, I realized that I never had left the starting line. My heart slowly got adjusted to the “ho hum” mentality, and I my desire to seek after God’s heart settled into a even so faint whisper. I read Gods word, but didn’t understand it. I talked at God, but never talked with God.
In walks desperation.
Yearing for God
When our bodies need food, they have ways of telling us (i.e. a grumbling tummy, knots in our stomachs, weakness in our muscles, etc.). It is the same when our spirits are hungry. We feel the warnings. Its different for everyone, but my warning signs were that I became extremely irritable and emotional. Everything, whether important, unimportant or down right silly caused my emotions to flip upside down. I was crying almost everyday, I was lashing out against my loved ones, and I realized that I hadn’t truly felt God’s presence in longer then I could remember. After 3 years of ignoring my spirit’s cry for God, you can imagine the intense ‘soul grumbles’ I felt. My soul was desperate. It was desperate for my God’s touch. It was desperate for His Word. It was desperate for communion with Him. Instead of ignoring my heart like all the other times, I decided to crack down and feed my thirsty soul. I pulled out my Bible, grabbed a prayer journal, and you know what happened? I met with God, and I felt His presence like I never had in any church service or youth conference. It was only 30 minutes of alone time with Christ, but that 30 minutes gave my soul such a sweet taste of God’s Spirit, that I had to have more. The next day, it was 30 minutes of quiet time plus I began talking with God throughout the day instead of just at my allotted ‘prayer time’. Next week I found myself wanting to pick up my Bible out of pure interest in what it had to say, not just out of duty…and on and on it went.
I immediately saw a difference with my attitudes towards life’s circumstances. I didn’t lash out as often. I even began to see opportunities at my work where I was able to share my faith and reach out to unsaved co-workers. My prayer times become more fluent and comfortable. My praise was real and sincere. Reading the Bible was a joy every morning, not a burden I stumbled through whenever I got the chance.
The biggest difference though? I actually desired God. I felt a yearning for His presence. I began to see my frailty as a human, and my ever present need of a Savior. I realized that without His Spirit daily in my life no matter how I hard I claimed to be a Christian I had nothing to stand on. I saw that the world I live in is in dire need of Jesus. I was a vessel God chose to reveal Himself through.
Just those revelations have revolutionized my heart, mind, and spirit.
It’s been almost a month since I started meeting daily with God. I can say I’ve never felt freer. No matter where you are in your walk with God–whether you’ve walked with Him for years, have only just begun, or maybe haven’t even started yet–hear me: Your soul is desperate. Your ‘soul grumbles’ might not be like mine but every heart is calling out for God in one way or another. Don’t ignore it.
Take a deep breath, ask God for a fresh out pouring of His Spirit; dive into His Word. It is the Well of Living Water. Take the time to study it, not just read it. Open your mouth and speak to God like you would your best friend. Tell Him that you adore Him, confess your sins to Him, thank him, and submit your requests to Him. It’s not about flowery words or saying the right thing. It’s about developing a relationship with Him.
I promise, in His presence your soul will find rest from this chaotic world, and your heart will find what it’s been longing for. It’s well worth the time and effort.
Are you ready to take the challenge? Are you ready to live a life that is desperate for God?
It’s been said that God’s Word is like a mirror to our souls- it shows us who we are, and who we need to become. The reflection that stares back at us from that mirror shows all the short comings and areas of ungodliness that hides deep in the corners of our souls. When you submerge yourself in the Bible, all the sins in your heart seem to bubble up to the surface like air pockets rising from a sinking rock.
It has been that way in my own heart, and those sins have come up by the hand full. The very sins I scorned others for having have been revealed by the light of God, and I have been left standing wondering how I can deal with my unworthiness.
My heart has been sorrowful for its sins over and over again through the years I’ve known Christ- yet now that I started the true ‘race’ towards Christ, I find that remorse is not enough. Ridding ones heart of sin is like weeding a garden- simply pulling the weeds out isn’t enough. You have to kill the roots in order to maintain a healthy harvest. As I’m sure many of you have experienced, simply saying your “sorry” for your sins makes you feel temporarily better, but in the long run those sins come springing back. Its only when you dive into Gods Holy Word and stare into the ‘mirror’ of truth, that desire for true repentance comes.
In walks desperation.
It’s so easy to allow your heart to become complacent. In complacence, we often allow sin to enter our hearts without even noticing it. When left untended to- just like weeds in a garden- those sins take over our hearts, and we lose our ability to feel the prodding of Gods Spirit. Without being able to feel the Holy Spirit’s conviction we enter into a hardened, bitter state.
When the darkness of sin is revealed by the light of the Truth, desperation comes in like a title wave. The intense need for change, for forgiveness, for cleansing brings you into a whole new sense of who you are and who God is. It’s the start of a revelation- that you are a sinner, and God is Holy and merciful. It’s something you’ve known, but until you truly see the need for a Savior, it doesn’t register with your spirit.
In these past months that I’ve grown closer to Christ- I’ve realized that my hearts desire for purity has become complacent. I have allowed sins to enter my heart, and they’ve left me hard and cold towards Gods precious Spirit. As I have been diving into the Word of God, the ice of my heart has melted, and I’ve seen my sinful heart for what it is- desperate for repentance.
Repentance is turning completely away from sin- making a 180° turn from your old way of life. It’s being broken before a Holy and Righteous God. It’s about grabbing a hold of a hunger and a desperate desire for a pure and clean heart. It’s more then feeling sorry- it’s taking action. It’s pulling the weeds out, and killing the roots.
How do we do this? We fall on our faces before God and cry out to Him. We admit we are completely and totally lost without Him, and there is nothing good inside of our hearts. We praise Him for His Holiness, and confess our unworthiness. We humbly ask God to break us, and we beg Him for reformation.
As you cry out before God, let Charlie Hall’s paraphrase of Psalm 24:3-6 be the cry of your heart:
Give us clean hands, give us pure hearts…
Tell the World
Do you remember before you truly knew Christ? Maybe you were like me and grew up with the knowledge of Christ your whole life, or maybe you grew up not ever hearing Christ’s name. Either way you know what it feels like to be alone, afraid, lost and worthless. No matter how high and mighty you claim to be, you’ve felt the sting of hopelessness and the bitter cold of rejection. You know the doubt that creeps in when life turns upside down. You know the hurt that comes when your loved ones stomp on your heart. We are all born sinful. We all have felt the hot breath of hell on our backs.
Why then, after we have found the truth, the everlasting hope of salvation, the rock, protector, provider, redeemer and true Love do we hide behind our insecurities instead of sharing our faith?
I know you’ve heard it all before. I have too. We’re supposed to get out there, share your faith, and be bold, blah blah blah. But the truth of the matter is we live in a dying world. It is more then physical death; it is spiritual death. This isn’t a game any more. People are dying everyday in our own neighborhoods. Have you even noticed?
In walks desperation.
This world is desperate. There are girls in your schools, neighborhoods, and churches that cut themselves last night simply to see if they are still alive. There are women who are dependant on meth and children who are contemplating suicide. Have you taken the time to see them? Do you have the compassion to reach them?
I know it’s a difficult task. It’s easy to be comfortable on our Christian pedestals and neglect those who are in need around us. Yet sisters, it’s beyond that now. You can’t walk down the street without seeing blatant sin. It’s time to stop being afraid or disgusted by sinners and start laying down our lives for them.
We as Christ’s daughters must stand up and proclaim the gospel with our lives. You don’t have to be bold and outgoing to reach your generation. But you have to be willing for Christ to lead you and be ready to follow His voice no matter the cost.
I can not tell you how many times I have ignored God’s voice out of fear and have missed opportunities to share the gospel. I remember one very specific time that I was talking to a “Christian” friend whose views were anything but Biblical. I knew God was telling me to step forward and proclaim the truth but instead I withered back and said nothing. I have regretted this and many other missed opportunities. Please hear me: don’t let fear keep you from sharing God’s life-saving message. Staying comfortable isn’t worth risking someone’s life.
It isn’t just the foreign missionary’s job. It is our job. Did Christ not call all of us to follow the Great Commission? Mark 16:15 says, “Go unto all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” Aren’t our neighborhoods, towns, and states a part of “all the world”? Then who are we to ignore a command of God?
So… are we suppose to run around screaming about Jesus to everyone’s face? No. It’s using the opportunities God gives us. It’s standing firm and walking in truth. It’s crying out to the Heavenly Father and saying “Father, I’m desperate to see this world won for You… so use me.”
So I ask: are you desperate? Are you desperate enough to reach a world that’s crawling with sin and injustice? Are you desperate enough to stand tall and cry with all God’s children saying “Here I am Lord, send me”?
Photo by Bethany Wissman