As the 2014 year is wrapping up, I find myself exclaiming the same statement so many of us do every year at this time, “Where has the year gone?” While I am in agreement with you that it has flown by and it seems to go faster each year I get older, God brought to my mind this past week how the year started for me in my spiritual journey. If you want to reminisce with me you can go here: The Year of Christ. As I reread what God had laid on my heart an overwhelming spirit of conviction, sorrow, joy, and an immeasurable amount of gratitude overcame me. I did not know at all what the year was going to unfold for me last January, but what did unfold was nothing that I could have ever imagined or expected. If you had seen the inside of my life in the earlier months of this year, you would have thought my life was anything but Christ. However, through His mercies, His unfailing love, and friends who were unwilling to allow Satan to take captive another of Christ’s children, the year of Christ in my life can be described as this:
“Too often utter devastation must occur in a woman’s life before she turns to the Lord. Only after a locust plague had ravaged God’s people and judgment was looming did they turn and repent. Being humble enough to have God search your heart daily for sin will help you avoid seeking God’s forgiveness only as a last resort. But, while you fall short, He does not. The Lord’s faithful love, patience, and grace are painted throughout Joel and point to the salvation available in Christ. Paul quotes Joel 2:32 in Romans 10:13. Only in Jesus Christ can salvation and forgiveness be found.” (Joel Written on My Heart from the Women’s HCSB, 1160)
I have never personally seen nor experienced an avalanche. In fact, the only time I have really been around snow is the one time I went snow skiing over 20 years ago!! However, I have seen an avalanche on TV and if it is anything like it looks then an avalanche is how I must describe the Year of Christ in my life for 2014.
Why do I say this? As snow builds up on the mountaintops it eventually gets so heavy that the weight of it can no longer be held up by what is underneath it. This is what was happening to me. My sin had been building up and I was managing it myself. Just recently I was reading through the book How to Pray by Ronnie Floyd. The following described what had been happening in my life earlier in the year.
“Repentance does not end at salvation; repentance begins at salvation.
When you ignore the conviction of the Holy Spirit toward the sin in your life, you will develop a hard heart…
Most of the Christians I have met across America seem to be more interested in learning how to manage their sin effectively than they are in learning how to overcome their sin victoriously. Most Christians just want to make sure they do not get caught in their sin. They want to make sure that they can enjoy their sin and not have to pay too heavy a price for it. Therefore, their goal is to manage their sin, not to overcome it…Your goal as a growing Christian should be to overcome your sin, not just manage it more effectively.” (Ronnie Floyd in How to Pray, 193-194)
But one can only manage their sin so long before the avalanche begins. And once it begins it does not stop quickly. The last three months I have found in my possession five books and to my surprise and my delight I have been able to quickly move through them some how in the midst of all the busyness of finishing up the school semester. It was through God’s Word and the inspiration of these five books that God has revealed my hard heart and His desire to show me how much He loves me. As the avalanche began, I could no longer ignore the promptings of the Holy Spirit to deal with the hardness of my heart. God’s timing drew me back to a book I had completed over 1 ½ years ago. This was the reminder:
“However, the more sensitive one is to God’s Word in his life, the more easily small violations of His Word can plague his life with a sense of guilt, and the more temptation there is for him to ignore or pay no attention to tiny attitudes or minor violations of his conscience, which has been honed to a sharp edge by the Word of God and the presence of His Holy Spirit…As one grows in Christ, though he sins less and less, he is more and more sensitive to sin. He sees the sinfulness of sin more and more—even very small sins of attitude, work, or deed—and his love for his Lord grows because he realizes how much more greatly he has been forgiven than he thought he’d been forgiven.” (Rich Thomson in Love the Answer, 58-59)
So here I am in the middle of the avalanche, dealing with hidden sin in my heart. In addition, a huge burden for those around me to also be released from the weight of their sin is stirring inside. Join me today in seeking God to reveal the sin in our hard hearts; repenting and asking forgiveness from Him as well as from the one(s) we have sinned against if possible. I look forward to sharing how the Year of Christ is ending for me (or maybe we should say, just beginning!!)
We don’t have to stay in the position of being burdened by our sin or trying to manage it.
Once it begins to topple there is something only forgiven sinners can experience.
“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns.
See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the everlasting way.”
My Sins, My Saviour
John S. B. Monsell, 1811-1875
My sins, my sins, my Saviour!
They take such hold on me,
I am not able to look up,
Save only, Christ, to Thee;
In Thee is all forgiveness,
In Thee abundant grace,
My shadow and my sunshine
The brightness of Thy face.
My sins, my sins, my Saviour!
How sad on Thee they fall;
Seen through Thy gentle patience,
I tenfold feel them all;
I know they are forgiven,
But still, their pain to me
Is all the grief and anguish
They laid, my Lord, on Thee.
My sins, my sins, my Saviour!
Their guilt I never knew
Till with Thee, in the desert,
I near Thy Passion drew;
Till, with Thee, in the garden,
I heard Thy pleading prayer,
And saw the sweat-drops bloody
That told Thy sorrow there.
Therefore my songs, my Saviour,
E’en in this time of woe,
Shall tell of all Thy goodness
To suffering man below;
Thy goodness and Thy favour,
Whose presence from above,
Rejoice those hearts, my Saviour,
That live in Thee and love.