When I was a young adult I made all my decisions based on what I felt was right. I trusted my feelings above all else. I truly believed that I was upstanding, that I was honourable, that I was right. Aren’t we all so good at self-delusion?
In my mid twenties I welcomed my Dad back into my life, and he introduced me to God and His word with new perspective. I began to see how the words on the pages cut through the lies the enemy had been using to hide my intentions from me. Lies that encouraged me to compare myself to others so I could deem myself to be better, smarter, kinder, more organised, more loving, more righteous than those around me. Easy enough when I compared myself to those who appeared to be lacking in areas I was adept in. A labyrinth of lies stood between the intentions of my heart and my conscious thoughts. Each secret pathway was filled with excuses, with comparisons, with emotions. I was completely unaware of the truth in my heart.
“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” Jeremiah 17:9
I had yet to learn how to investigate the heart of the girl in the mirror, without the rose coloured glasses Inner Enemies had placed over my eyes.
The word of God did just as the scriptures said it would. It cut through to the bone and exposed my hidden intentions that I had been completely oblivious to.
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart”. Hebrews 4:12
Seeing the truth about my wicked heart was a turning point in my life. I was shocked into self-awareness, ripped from the false sense of security the labyrinth of deceptions had given. I saw a heart that was self-seeking, dishonest, and emotionally manipulative. Yet the hardest blow came when I saw that not only were my emotions manipulating those around me, those I ‘loved’, they had also been manipulating me!
In my youth I had a gift of twisting my own lies into the most believable display, I was very good at convincing others of my mis-truths, sometimes I was so persuasive I began to believe my own lies. Once I felt the conviction of how clearly I had been deluded and how easily I had fooled myself, I began to distrust my feelings, rather than allowing them to make all my decisions, I gave in and let the word of God do it’s healing work in me. I began instead to despise deception and I developed a love and pursuit of truth, as a result God has used the sharp edge of the sword to cut away each segment of that labyrinth of lies. I came to understand that this is how God uses our sin, plus His word and His grace, to sew His laws into our hearts.
“This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbour, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.” (Jeremiah 31:33)
Facing up to the true wickedness of our own heart, which has so well worn a righteous mask, is one of the most self-damning experiences, and Inner Enemies love to overplay their hand. They will try to use this awareness to shroud us in guilt, guilt that is so hideous we become afraid to enter into God’s presence. Inner Enemies tell us that our sins are too appauling to forgive. However when we learn that God’s grace is far more abundant than our sin, if we recognise this trick and learn that so long as we confess our sin to God He is faithful and swift to forgive us. He will bring us into a new covenant where another level of Holy Spirit is given to us, to fight against the lies, against the guilt, so that God may do a miraculous work on our hearts. God can then fulfil His intentions to circumcise the hard and wicked outer case of our hearts, to reveal a soft place for His voice to be established, and malleable hearts that bend to His will. Then He can give us all the blessings a righteous heart deserves and more.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8
“For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; with favour You will surround him as with a shield.” Psalms 5:12
“The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.” Psalms 34:17
“LORD, who may abide in your tabernacle? Who may dwell in your holy hill? He who walks uprightly, and works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart;” Psalms 15:1-2
“Behold, I will lay your stones with colourful gems, and lay your foundations with sapphires. I will make your pinnacles of rubies, your gates of crystal, and all your walls of precious stones. All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children. In righteousness you shall be established; You shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you.” Isaiah 54:11-14