I’ve been a Christian since I was four years old, but it wasn’t until about six years ago that I began to understand God for who he really is. God intervened in my life by making me a promise that seemed impossible. This intervention completely changed the way I saw God and the way that I lived my day to day life. I experienced joy that I’d never felt before, and I began to have a much higher view of God.
During this time of deeper intimacy with God, I began to feel a tension in my spirit while reading many Christian blog posts or listening to Christian speakers. At first I wrote this off as me being critical, unteachable, or simply that I didn’t resonate with what was being said. But then there would be times I would come across a Christian speaker or writer and I would drink their words in. The truth coming out of their mouth was refreshing my spirit and reviving the deepest parts of my soul.
I realized that this “tension” was actually my spirit discerning that there was something untrue about what was being said. Sometimes, the “untruth” is more obvious. If someone came into my church and started preaching against Jesus, my spirit would sound the alarm, and the reason why would be obvious. Other times, the lie is much more subtle.
The Pharisees in the Bible were legalists. They knew the law inside and out, and everything they said was true. They knew the letter of the law, but not the spirit. When they talked about their law, it was with a spirit of condemnation. Even though they spoke true words, they managed to communicate a lie: God is unloving, and we are superior for following the law.
Pure truth is comprised of both word and spirit.
Christians who have God’s truth in their mouths and his love in their heart will speak words that refresh. But I’ve found that there are three major factors that affect the purity of the truth that we speak.
1. Dirty Vessels vs Clean Vessels
Imagine you are thirsty and you need a drink of water. A drink of coffee or orange juice won’t refresh you when you need water – it will dehydrate you and make you feel worse. If I were to give you water that was stored in a lead drinking vessel, you would be poisoned – not by the water, but by the cup that carried it. If I poured your drinking water into a cup that had dirt in it, you’re going to end up with a mouth full of mud. The cleanliness of your drinking vessel will affect the purity of what you consume from that vessel.
If we are all sinners, how can we be pure vessels? This purity is not dependent on our own works, but on the finished work of Christ. When we confess our sins, he doesn’t just allow us to escape punishment – he actually cleanses us from that sin and restores us. When we have sin in our lives that we have never allowed him to deal with, this sin will affect what we carry inside of us. Our words and our actions will be tainted because our vessel is impure.
2. Pursuing Success vs Pursuing God’s Glory
We often talk about how God gives dreams and keeps promises, but we fail to make a distinction between desires that come from him and desires birthed by the flesh.
We are vessels that carry Gods purpose into the world, but often we use our gifts and talents for our own success rather than God.
We often don’t realize we are even doing this.
It’s all too easy to pursue our career and say that we’re doing it to bring glory to God when internally, we derive greater pleasure from our career success than we do from forwarding God’s kingdom.
I see far too many Christians who are acting out their own plans while claiming to follow God. Some of us do it because our fear has prevented us from obeying the prompting that the Holy Spirit has placed on our hearts. Some of us don’t consistently listen to God because it’s easier to do what we want than believe there’s some other voice we should be following.
I think that there’s also a group of people who aren’t led by God, but it’s not because they are rebellious. It’s because they are unsure whether they can hear God’s voice. They aren’t sure how to recognize him, and they don’t want to be following the wrong leadership. If you’re in this camp, check out my next post about hearing from God.
3. Studying Scripture vs Pursuing God’s Heart
It’s easy to have devotional time and study scripture and without ever pursuing God’s heart. Did you know that we can carry Gods emotions inside of us? When we experience anger at the injustice in the world, we are feeling what God feels. When we feel joy at something beautiful that happens, we are sharing in his joy. When we feel love for those around us, it’s actually his love we are carrying inside of us.
We are vessels that get to carry God’s character and emotions into the world. It’s the highest thing we can do. Have we allowed him to fill us with his feelings? He is longing to share them with us. He’s not a dictator who hides the details from his servants. He’s a husband sharing his heart with his bride, longing to be known and understood by her. If we were to allow his emotions to reign in us, it will elevate us to a new level of relationship with him.
“The Lord confides in those who fear him.” – Psalm 25:14
Remember What Really Matters
My writing will never matter in eternity if I am concerned with making my voice heard. So instead of speaking my own words, I ask God to share his feelings with me. I seek his heart and ask him, “What are you trying to tell your people that isn’t being heard?” Then I allow the talent he’s given me to be the vehicle for delivering his message. It is only then that my words will have any eternal significance.
God wants to reveal himself in the natural realm, but by his own design he needs people in order to do this. There’s been talk about revival, but for this to happen, God needs vessels that are pure hearted, have open ears, and are carrying his mind, will, and emotions inside of them. These are the men and women who will rise up and become mighty in battle.