It is another solemn day as the Lord deals sternly (or graciously) with me. To see a fraction of the depth of your own depravity, especially as someone who is supposed to be a "good Christian", is difficult. We all, as Christians, will admit it and joke about it, but to really feel the sting and feel that sickness in your stomach is something different. I am a selfish, idolatrous, hardened, bitter, unloving man who seeks his own glory -plain and simple. I am a man who constantly struggles with the simplest rudiments of faith. I am unkind to those I am supposed to be most kind to. I am selfish and preoccupied with self and my own intentions when I am needed most by those around me. I can't even pray for someone else, or pray with someone for someone else, without focusing back upon me and my own lack or struggles or faults.
There are too many specific instances to list, but they are all coming rushing to the foreground lately. It is good in a way, though it is painful. It makes me want to curl up and die or at least go to bed and hopefully wake up feeling better and being changed. Oh, I wish it was that simple. I know that this is the way in which God has ordained to change His saints -so for that I am grateful. It is through the slow, methodical exposure of wickedness. It is that constant reminder that we are utterly helpless and, hopefully if we are given the strength to see it, that Christ has regarded us in our misery and answered to the fullest measure.
What can I do now that I am privy to the wicked passions of my own heart? Well, I can resist them. In fact, I must resist them. Even though it seems difficult indeed to imagine I am dead to sin (Romans 6) in Christ Jesus, yet it is what the Word of God says, and it says that because of this I shall resist the passions of the flesh. Aside from that, I can just be on my face in prayer and fasting -knowing that I cannot change my heart. Perhaps I can pull off some outward behavior correction, but without the change of heart it will not lost. My own resolutions are dirt. It must be a change wrought in the heart by the Holy Spirit, and I know that this is a big part of it -recognition. To recognize and get a taste of our own ugliness in specific ways gives whole new meaning to the common knowledge held amonst us that we are sinners. To say, "I am a sinner" because I know I do bad things like everybody else is one thing. To know, in my deepest heart, that I am a wicked and idolatrous creature worthy of death and scorn, with the smell of sulfure oozing from my pores is something different. I do not just do bad, I am bad. And I see how much more I am bad because of the specific evils and evil desires that gush from within like a fire hose.
God have mercy! It is good to know that I am a pardoned man, though at moments like this the darkness is so thick I can scarcely comprehend or find comfort in it. But what I really want is change. I want to honor God. I want to please Him. I want to lift up His name in all I do, think, and say. I desperately want the blackness of my own heart to be so over-flooded with light that it runs and hides or, even better, is completely devoured and extinguished from my soul. To know I am accepted is good, but to praise God and express love to Him and bring glory to His name is the only true end to which we are accepted and redeemed, and the only fitting one! I crave it, I starve inside, I am weary and hungry, but I know this is good. It is good. I just wish it did not hurt so much. I wish I loved the way I ought. I wish I was not bitter and spiteful, but was instead gentle, humble, tender, forgiving, compassionate, merciful, and utterly captivated and consumed by the glory and majesty and love of God.
Again, GOD have mercy upon me. Hear my cries! Change me. As David cried, put in me a "right heart" and a "steafast spirit!"