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“We tend to think that what we do when we come before God is to present only those parts of ourselves that we feel relatively comfortable with. And, if we think God doesn’t know those other parts, we are horribly misinformed.” Joe & Suzanne Stabile

I read this quote on fb about 2 weeks ago and its just rambled around in my head,.  Poking me.

 

In John 3 we read some of the most famous and favourited verses of the bible… but as we read on we read some of the most uncomfortable verses.

 

 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. John 3

 

The AMP reads it like this:  the Light has come into the world, and people loved the [c]darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20 For every wrongdoer hates the Light, and does not come to the Light [but shrinks from it] for fear that his [sinful, worthless] activities will be exposed and condemned. 21 But whoever practices truth [and does what is right—morally, ethically, spiritually] comes to the Light, so that his works may be plainly shown to be what they are—accomplished in God [divinely prompted, done with God’s help, in dependence on Him].”

 

Now before we point fingers out to the world… lets look in the mirror.  Speck meet log.

 

We love the darkness.  We often hide parts of ourselves.  From others.  From ourselves.  From God.

 

It can be scary thinking that God sees all and knows all.  He sees all the ugly parts of me.  The parts I don’t want to even acknowledge.

 

But the gentleness and the lovingness of God means that he isn’t just after our behaviour, He is after our hearts.

 

In the last 2 verses of Psalm 139 David prayed, “Search me, God, and know my heart.  Test me, and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offenseive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.” V 23-24

 

Now that is an incredible prayer to pray.  Risky.  Because God answers prayer.  That prayer is an invitation for God to go into all those places we hide, to strip away all our masks and to point out all our flaws – not to shame us, not to break us, not to push us away, but to draw us closer and to restore us and to heal us and to transform us.

 

The prayer really has 3 parts.

Search my heart.

Know my anxious thoughts.

Uncover my sins.

 

 

And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me,

See if there is any path of pain I’m walking on,
and lead me back to you

 

 

To live in the light we need God to search our hearts.   There is a really common saying “they’ve got a good heart” but the bible says that the heart is deceitful above all things.  Meaning, the heart is a liar.  Without being born again and even to some extent afterwards am I right our heart leads us astray and deceives others and deceives ourselves.  Our worst enemy is often ourselves and the patterns of thoughts and behaviours that are our default settings.

 

It’s a brave person that prays Search my heart.  Test me, know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me.   It gives God permission to point out any sin that’s dwelling within us.

 

When we’ve first become Christians it’s a lot like renovating.  You fix the big obvious things.  We are about to embark on a bathroom renovation and it feels scary.  Not because we’re replacing our bath and vanity, but its what lurks underneath, hidden away that might cause all the drama.   In our early years as Christians we deal with the big things and we see amazing transformation but then as we walk on with Jesus its more about the little things.  You know what though,  those little things are often the big things.  One little leak in our bathroom…. Yeah who knows what we’ll find!  The little things can have huge consequnces.

It’s our attitudes.  Its our pride.  Its our selfishness. Its our laziness.

Last year a personality test called the Enneagram blew up all over social media.  Being the ENFP otter sanguine I am I immediately jumped on board.  Any ennagram fans here?  So, long story short I’m a 3.  3’s are the performers or the achievers.  We are awesome and we know it.

There is a life cycle of aomeone that does an ennegram test.

 

  1. confusion – the enneawaht?
  2. wonder – wow, this thing reads my mail!
  3. evangelism – everyone must do this!
  4. complexity – the more I read about this thing the more I realize I don’t know about myself
  5. suffering – oh no, this thing reads my mail!
  6. growth – the enneagram helps me see my blindspots and who I really am

 

 

I totally went through this life cycle.  I saw the ennegram everywhere and was like do I need to do another personality test…?  The answer for me will always be yes.  They’re so much fun!   I quickly zoomed into the wonder/evangelism phase as well as the oh my goodness the memes are sooo good!  But then as I began to read more and listen to podcasts I discovered that there were places of me that were uncomfortable and hidden in plain sight.  The enneagram aptly calls them the shadow side.

 

The enneagram was the tool God used to search my heart.  To know my anxious thoughts, to show me the offensive places, the places God saw already.   For you it might be though a mentoring relationship – when you give someone permission to speak into your life and to be honest with you about you.  Or a book you read, or something from the Bible that jumps out and slaps you in the face.  It might come as you get connected in a connect group or during worship, or during the real life every day circumstances of your life that God uses to reveal the shadow side and call us into the light.

 

When we let God into those places He transforms us.   When we let the light of God shine into those dark places of our lives He makes us more like Jesus.   He makes us mature and secure.

 

In a way we’re all like Lazarus – called out the darkness of the tomb into a whole new life, but some of us choose to walk around in our graveclothes still.

 

Im not saying we have to be perfect for our light to shine – quite the opposite.   As we live authentic lives, covered in grace, it tells an amazing story about how real and loving and good God is.  Our scars tell a story about the one who right now in heaven has scars on his hands because he died on the cross to set us free and bring us near to God.

 

Davids prayer Search me, test me, know me is challenging.  Lets be people who choose the light instead of the darkness.  Choosing the light trusts that God is good and that God knows best for my life and best for my journey and best for my wholeness.