As much as this blog is a way for me to share the gospel with the world, it is also a manner in which God helps me to assess my own heart as a Christian. He forces me to look in the mirror and make sure I see a follower of Christ staring back. If I had I looked in the mirror as I was writing this week’s original post, I’m not sure what I would have seen.
For the past month I have been reading a book by Stephen and Alex Kendrick entitled “The Battle Plan for Prayer” and it is based on the movie War Room. It has really been eye opening to me about prayer, what it truly is about and how it really works. In one of the lessons they talk about how we often block our own prayers from being heard because our sin is too great and we have not repented. In a way, that happened to me this week.
As I felt the tug to return to blogging after taking time off to spend with the family while I was home in the states, I wondered what I was going to talk about. I wondered what God would reveal to me and place on my heart. Well a rough few weeks at the academy gave me plenty of options. It was not rough from the stand point that I thought I was struggling, but instead I saw the calamity around me and thought, man some people need to hear a lesson. So I sat down and began to type away.
As usual I was typing crazy amounts as thoughts and feelings just flowed from my brain to the keyboard. People asked about the blog and I said it was coming along well for a 2016 debut. Yet something was wrong. I hit a block. I got halfway through a post and writer’s block smacked me. I reread what I wrote and it was terrible. I was all over the place and some of the things I said were questionable. So I switched topics. That was even worse as I could barely get a paragraph out. So I switched topics again. Same result. I repeated the process until I had run out of things that were on my mind. Then I decided I would simply not post this week since obviously I had nothing to say.
Then as I closed my computer it hit me. Go back and read the last line of the previous paragraph. What’s the fifth to last word? I. I had made the post about me. See the things at the academy had given me great fuel. The things that had happened made me angry; they had offended me, and I was writing out of that anger. I was not allowing God to use me as a tool. I was using the tool God have given me for my own selfish purpose. I wanted to toot my own horn, to show others how they were wrong, to be a keyboard warrior and get written revenge, and to most of all gain views.
If I had looked in the mirror in that moment I would not have seen a Christian showing the love of Christ to the world. I would have seen a Christian who was out for revenge because he had succumbed to temptation and hatred.
With that I confess to you that tonight’s blog post will simply be this confession: that I have allowed the hatred, anger, and bitterness that I harbored in my heart to get in the way of my communication with God. I could not hear Him and write for Him because I was too concerned with my personal agenda. I was blocked by sin. In the beginning I did not care that people would not see Christ. All I cared about was myself. I was basically trying to use the Lord’s name in vain by attaching His name to my sin filled post. Thankfully He stopped me, because listen to what James says in chapter 1 verse 26, “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.” Wow that hits deep. If I had written that post it would have been worthless. Not only that but my beliefs would be worthless as well. Pretty much the post and I would not have mattered in the slightest to God or His will or His plan for eternity. I would be speaking with a split tongue. Straight up hypocrite.
I truly believe that God gave me writer’s block. It was He who saved me from myself. See God is the one who gives me ideas, guides my fingers on the keyboard, and helps me to post what it is that people need to hear. So when I begin to abuse that power and privilege so that I might gain some twisted sense of satisfaction, I am glad He steps in and blocks me. Literally that’s what it felt like. It was like all of the ideas were on the tip of my tongue but I just could not get them out. For a total of 4 hours maybe, I tried and tried to capture the ideas and get them on paper. Yet I could not reach them, my mind would not move. God had blocked me. He allowed me to feel as if the answer was there but didn’t allow me to reach it. Like Moses and the Promised Land, I could not enter because I was not right with Him.
I was not right with Him because I was so entrenched in sin that I did not even think to repent. I had become comfortable in it and did not see a reason to change. When that happens, God cannot use me for His will. See God is perfect. Everything about Him, from His appearance to His decisions, is perfect. Because of this He cannot deal with or associate with anything that is imperfect (Isaiah 59:2). So when we sin, He cannot be with us or communicate with us. Communication is blocked. Thankfully we have the Christ. Jesus died and rose to pay the price for our sins so that we may be made perfect and blameless in the eyes of God. We need that because we cannot come anywhere close to perfection on our own. Now that being said, we must accept said gift and repent (Romans 10:9). After we repent, and only after, will we be cleansed, made perfect by the death and resurrection of Christ, and able to be used by God (Hebrews 10:14).
In my case this week, I had not repented and let go of the bitterness I harbored in my heart. Therefore I was trying to proclaim the truth of the Gospel while hating the people I was writing to and about. It makes no sense. God could not use that post and nor would he help me write it. It would be tainted with sin and with imperfections. Only after He revealed my sin to me and I repented could he and did He use me as a vessel for His will.
Hopefully you have learned something from my life experience. (In this case my sin.) I know that I have. When we fail to repent of ours sins we cannot be used by God. There are no ifs and or buts about it. It is simply impossible for the perfect God of the universe to use and communicate with those who have not repented of their sins. Even worse he cannot work with those who are dwelling in and comfortable with their sins. Sin is a literal blockade against God. He needs a clean heart, a pure heart to do His will. Now, note that this does not mean we must live perfect lives. That my friends, is impossible. Instead he asks that we give our hearts to Him, and put our faith in Him and in His son, Jesus Christ. That action, coupled with our repentance for our sins will cleanse us so that He might use us.
So there you have it. My first post of 2016 is just me laying my sin out there. It’s real. It’s honest, and I hope it was what you needed to hear. Maybe you doubted if you were the only person struggling to hear God above the roar of your own sin. Maybe you doubted if Christians ever confessed their sins to others. Or maybe you were just wondering if God really can make an influence in our moment to moment actions and decisions. Well the answers are: no you’re not alone because it’s almost a guarantee that someone else sins like you, yes Christians do (or at least they should) tell others about their sin so that they might have accountability, and yes God does make a difference if we let Him.