faith, wisdom

Examine Me and Know My Heart

A couple of days ago, I was curled up in my husband’s recliner with the comfort of my weighted blanket hugging me. (Oh yeah, weighted blankets are amazing!) Scrolling through Instagram, I lost focus when thoughts of a nap began to slip in. I don’t take naps often, but when it’s there for the taking, I’m all in! But in an instance, I was pulled out of my sleepy thoughts and stopped my scroll with this quote from @bethmoorequotes.

Wait… what?

At first glance, there’s not much that makes sense with this quote, but as I stared at this picture, my brain went into overdrive and all thoughts of a nap vanished with a dose of what could be hard truth.

Wanting to know what other people thought, I clicked on the comments to find a bunch of Amens and Yeses. But honestly, I felt pulled in two different directions with these words.

You can’t really have sincere and pure devotion to Christ and still be completely seduced by the devil… can you?

To have a sincere and pure devotion to Christ, don’t you need to know Him? Knowing Him is getting into the Word. Building a relationship through prayer and trust. I know Him. I have a relationship with Him. I trust Him.

But on the other hand… can’t we think we are ok in our relationship with Him and not really be ok? Sure, the church is full of people who think they are ok. But do they really show the fruit of being ok? Do I?

This rattled me enough that I looked up the meaning of seduce. “To attract (someone) to a belief or into a course of action that is inadvisable or foolhardy.”

To attract… sounds pretty benign. Ok, what am I attracted to? Am I attracted to the things God wants or what I want?

Then another question came. When is the last time I said, “God, examine me and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any bad thing in me. Lead me on the road to everlasting life.”

Psalms 139:23-24 NCV

Honestly, it’s probably been a while. Because, I’m ok, right? I’m in the word, journaling, and praying daily. I’m trusting God in the process… or at least I think I’m trusting the process.

But am I really? Or am I just saying I am?

What are my recurring questions with the latest issue going on in my life?

God, what’s going on here? What are you doing? Why won’t you tell me which way to go? Why am I going through this? Where are Your promises? Where are Your blessings?

Does that sound like someone who trust God in the process?

No, it does not.

***Side note: questions are ok—good even, but when they get stuck on repeat that is where a problem slips in.

Am I being seduced by the enemy? Is he attracting me with the things I want to happen? And because I really don’t like the answers (or lack of answers) I’m getting from God, am I playing into the devil’s seduction?

Can you be seduced and not even know it’s happening?

Well, yeah. Isn’t that how seduction works? The first step: Enticing a person with something they want. They become so focused on it they will most likely forget the bigger picture.

The truth is we are all sinners (Romans 3:23), whether or not we are sincerely devoted to Jesus. Being a sinner won’t change until the day we step into heaven. We will always have something that trips us up. The enemy knows exactly what that is, and he will use it every time.

Am I too prideful to believe that because I am sincerely and purely devoted to Christ that the enemy won’t or can’t seduce me?

Ouch! Now that’s a hard question, but one that needs to be asked.

Here’s the thing, once seduction is recognized and we continue to focus on the attraction to the things we want, not what God wants, it’s no longer seduction… but a choice. A choice we make.

With this quote, I ended up with more questions than answers. But it did change my recurring questions from less-me-centered to more God-centered questions. And that can and will change my heart to be a little more like Christ. And isn’t that the goal?

When is the last time you said, “God, examine me and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any bad thing in me. Lead me on the road to everlasting life.”?

faith, friends, life, love

Fierce Love

In my last blog, I mentioned another friend and promised to write more about her. So here we go!  

Like my other friend, she’s pretty dang awesome! 

I giggle at the differences in my two friends, because this one does not have the gift of silence in any way or fashion. In fact, silence may actually be painful for her! But she has an amazing gift of her own. 

Her gift is loving the broken. Since I’ve known her, she’s always had this gifting. There have been times I’ve seen her fight it, but she can’t for very long. It always shines through. Even if she refused to act on it, it was burning in her heart. 

She is one of those people who will crawl down in the pit of muck and grime with you, wallow, get messy, and set up camp until your ready to leave, all the while reminding you that you’re not suppose to be there. 

She has a heart for the unlovable and broken in a way I deeply respect and admire. 

She’s taken in abused wives. Loved on hurting children. Walked with the alcoholics. Bailed people out of jail in the middle of the night. Fasted for months on end, as an intercessor in prayer. Stood in the faces of Pharisees and spoken the truth of God. 

Her love reminds me so much of Jesus’s love. Eating with the sinners. Choosing the tax collectors. Not judging the prostitutes. Leaving the ninety-nine for the one who strayed. Welcoming the prodigal home. Fighting for the sinner. And even, flipping the tables in the temple.

Although we can’t fully understand Jesus’s love, I think she “gets” it better than most.

After my sister’s murder, our family was so devastated and consumed by irrational emotions that we had an emotional limit as to what we could handle. The slightest little thing could be overwhelming to us. 

There’s not a lot I remember of those initial days, but I will never forget her stance. Anytime we were in a crowd of people, she was always near. Standing guard, ready to step in if it looked as if we couldn’t handle talking to one more person or if someone said something inappropriate (yes, unfortunately, that happens). And there were times, she acted on this stance. I remember seeing her guide people in a different direction so we could slip out the door. 

I find it a little funny now, because I picture her head to toe decked out in steel armor, shield and sword at the ready, fully prepared to fight anyone who might compromise us—and also the ones who might not. Lol! 

She is a mighty warrior. Standing guard. Ready to fight for that person’s cause, especially when they don’t have it in them to fight for themselves.

She has a fierce unbreakable love that, to be honest, can sometimes get her in trouble. 

But, oh, to have that kind of love for unlovable, broken people is something far too unseen in today’s world. Not only in today’s world, but in today’s churches.

I want to love like she loves. Just like I want to have wisdom in silence like my other friend in the blog post before. 

God put these two women in my life for so many reasons, but I’m confident that one reason is to teach me both of these unique gifts. I learn a little more each time I’m with them. 

I’m thankful for my circle, my people. Life wouldn’t be near as entertaining without them. 

Do you have someone in your life who teaches you how to be a better person? I’d love for you to tell me about them in the comments below.