Transformation Takes Time
Café Menu for Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Today’s Special is: The Beginning of the Journey
Carefully prepared just for you by your friend, Andrea Hine
And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.
Ezekiel 36:26 NLT
I have been accused of being judgmental more in the past three years than I have in my entire life. Sadly, the accusations are true. I am guilty.
When I accepted Christ as my Savior, He sent His Spirit to dwell in my heart. I thought the born again self would be an instantaneous thing. What made me think that? I don’t know.
Well about two weeks after my baptism, I came down off my high and I became so sensitive to my surroundings. I became acutely aware of how awful I had been living my life. Even though I had asked God to forgive me for my sins, I was unable to forgive myself at that time.
I became highly judgmental of myself. I became highly judgmental of those who said they were saved; yet they continued to live in (what had been revealed to me and I had come to believe) a sinful lifestyle. I thought if I had to give up a sinful lifestyle for Christ, they should too. I really got into the whole “holding one another accountable” thing.
In addition, I watched as others at church lived their lives for Christ. I wanted to live like them… right away after my baptism. I was critical of myself because I wasn’t changing fast enough. I was too proud to let in the positive influences God had provided for me also. Although I wanted to be like them (like Christ), I began criticizing and judging them… I guess to make myself feel better?
Well, God started removing my built up junk to establish a new solid foundation. I was one messed up child. I hurt others in the process of my healing, both new and old relationships. I have said and done things to people I love that I can never take back. They have forgiven me, but they can’t forget and although I tend to blame them for that, I have to remember that these are the consequences of my own actions… but after all, God was doing these things in me to prepare me for His service. I couldn’t serve Him the way I was after my baptism. I was a train wreck.
I keep praying for those relationships to be restored over time, but I tend to make things worse each time I try to make up for the past. So I sit and I wait for Him to do what I know He can do in His way and in His time.
There are so many things God wants to change about us and it doesn’t happen overnight. It can be a long, painful process and we may become so weary at times. But God promises to give us a new heart when we accept Him. He puts a new spirit in us and He will remove our hard, stubborn heart and give us a gentle, receptive heart. We must pray for Him to free us from critical and judgmental ways. Remember, He works for the good of us who love Him. We have been called according to His purpose and He has plans for peace and hope, to give us an expected end.
Heavenly Father, we come to You with hearts that are broken and we find it hard to comprehend Your grace. We can’t earn it and we certainly don’t deserve it. All we have is hope and believe that You will bring us into complete peace with others and with You. Provide us with a spirit of love and not judgment, of ourselves or of others. Please bring Your healing to us and those we have hurt. We pray these things in Christ’s name, Amen.
May God's grace give you the necessary humility. Try not to think - much less speak - of *their* sins. One's own are a much more profitable theme! And if on consideration, one can find no faults on one's own side, then cry for mercy: for this *must* be a most dangerous delusion. - C. S. Lewis
For more encouragement, visit Andrea at When Love is Felt a Heart Will Melt, where she shares how she is discovering who God created us to be and how she is, step by step, leaving the lies behind and following the Truth.
© 2014 by Andrea Hine. All rights reserved.