In celebration of Easter (God’s resurrection power), I thought I would share some character refinement I am going through.
It all began with a geninue internal desire at the beginning of the year to know God differently in 2019. I wanted to know God intimately and understand him for myself. Because I want to experience him the way Abraham, Isaac, Samuel, Joseph, Ruth, Esther, Paul experienced him.
However, a key question I failed to genuinely address at the beginning was MOTIVE: Why do I want know God intimately?
Honestly, in the beginning, it was to get something from God (as if I could bribe him). What a rude awakening! – I say this, because frustration set in overtime when things didn’t happen after a prayer, a praise section, or a fast. I found myself murmuring internally and sometimes externally.
I was pained and felt forsaken by God. Yet the holy spirit kept asking me, “why do you want to know me intimately”? Looking back now, I think I knew the answer, but I wasn’t willing to take responsibility and do the work that is required (I’m still a working progress).
In pursuit of wanting to know God deeply, I came across the book Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges. The scriptures and wordings in this book helped me realize that God will wait till I make a genuine effort because he has equipped me with everything I need to draw near to him. I learnt we all (believers & unbelievers) have different mercy cover and grace pedometer (ex: David & Saul). So I have to focus on my walk with God (Galatians 6:9) and he will manifest himself in my life (Psalms 25:14).
As I began to fellowship with God INTENTIONALLY on a daily basis,
- I realized I have time to pray and read his word, but chose other idols to occupy his time.
- I realized I read his word, but failed to mediate on his word
- I found programs I previously enjoyed boring or felt empty after watching them.
- I realized some of my character traits weren’t acceptable to God.
I tried changing somethings myself, but it was hard to permanently change without seeking God for help and obeying him when he corrected me. So, I asked God to deal with my character flaws and wow, HE WENT to work fine tuning my character. I mean my spirit CONVICTED me for EVERYTHING!!!. There truly isn’t anything like imperfection before God. He can’t stand SIN at ALL.
In the last few months, the Holy Spirit has chastised me for: (1) Looking at someone side eye; (2) Impatience; (3) Speaking to people unkindly; (4) Lying to a street beggar (e.g., I have no change) because I’m lazy to stop and open my purse; (5) Making promises I can’t truly keep (e.g., I will be praying for you); (6) Jealousy/envy because I compare myself to others.
The latter one WAS and IS still an eye-opener. Because, I didn’t think jealousy/envy was an issue I harbored till God TESTED me and boy did I fail his tests. At first, I tried justifying my reactions (inwardly and outwardly) but I never felt any satisfaction, instead I felt the devil’s condemnation. I HATED myself for feeling this way and NEEDED God’s help to not harbor unkindness in my heart (1 John 4:8).
“We don’t always serve a fair God, but He is always Just.”, a phrase from one of Christina Kwarteng‘s Tuesday Testimony blog post, resonated with me deeply. That phrase broke me and made me realize that though God loves me, he will never lower his standards on my account. So, I need to meet up to his standards. And to meet his standards, I need his help. With humility in my heart, Jesus said I have forgiven you in advance, I just need you to continue to choose me daily and walk with me, even when it’s hard.
It’s a daily walk (not struggle because of his words in 2 Coin 9:8; Phil 4:19) and I am grateful GOD LOVES ME and for his RESURRECTION POWER.
The devil has no portion in God’s abundant blessings for us (John 10:10).
Happy Easter (JESUS IS ALIVE AND GOD IS FAITHFUL)