Brave Enough

Romans 2:4 (NLT)
Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from sin?

(the message)
God is kind, but he’s not soft. In kindness he takes us firmly by the hand and leads us into a radical life-change.

Shannon, my husband, power washed our house on Saturday. Oh, the feeling of seeing the crisp, lovely white of our siding reappear! I was so happy. Really happy. Smile…

As I watched him work I observed how it took pressure to loosen the grime from our house.

Then I thought about how God applies pressure so He can remove the grime from my heart.

He wants us to live free of the gunk. Free to sparkle and shine and show who we truly are underneath the weathered effects of our atmosphere and culture.

I checked and refilled the bleach container. I unraveled the hose. Mostly, though, I just watched the transformation happen and thought how if my house had feelings, it might be saying, Stop! Stop! It hurts and I don’t like it! Let me just stay this way!

No can do, we answer.  And so does Creator.

Not too long I ago I experienced pressure applied to my heart as truth was spoken, with great kindness, into my life by someone who loves God and my family.

Initially, I felt like I imagine my house might. Hard shots of truth puncturing the grime of sin around my heart. I would be a liar if I denied an inner squirm. My pride wanted to rise up and resist, but I’ve been learning better.

Trusting better.

Jesus isn’t out to hurt me with the truth. He wants to heal me with it.

We’ve got to know that God applies the pressure of truth to our lives because He loves us.

So that we can turn from our sin and live in freedom.

Most of the time we lack a clear perspective of how bound and locked down we are in our sin. We don’t perceive what it’s truly costing us.

As the pressure of truth loosened the build-up around my heart, I began to see how I had been petting sin in my life.

Petting. Like I would our dog or cat. You know, patting its head, letting it hang around at my knees. Maybe I shoo’d it away from time to time but never really put it out.

We easily justify our sin when we choose to focus on the sins of others, but we never grow living that way. Never experience the thrill and sparkle of a clean “house.”

Truth can seem like a minefield.

But are we brave enough to lovingly speak it when Holy Spirit opens the door?

Are we brave enough to check our hearts and motives…prayerfully prepare…before speaking?

Are we brave enough to listen and receive when it’s spoken?

Sometimes I cast Creator in a story of kindness and forget His intent.

To firmly leads me into radical life-change.

My heart catches here this morning…

God’s kindness toward us, His tolerance and patience and love and grace…His mercy…is meant to lead us into a changed life.

Pressure applied by truth against our hearts is the kindest thing God does for us.

We do not change, grow, or know freedom in our lives without hearing the truth.

We do not honor Jesus, or those we love, if we cower away from sharing Biblical truth in a loving way.

Earlier in my life I would have bucked at our family friend speaking plainly into my life. I was so afraid of my worthlessness I couldn’t bare to have someone prove it true.

But let me tell you how our friend closed things out…

With prayer.

Heart-felt prayer that dove deep, came up for air and went back in. A prayer that took time…listening and speaking all at once…well beyond the good manners of short and sweet, perfunctory religious duty.

As God’s presence filled this prayer, those words of truth…the pressure they applied…loosened the grime of sin caked around my heart.

I saw myself.

My sin.

I wept.

I repented.

And I was free of it.

Truth does not make us a victim. It makes us over-comers.

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