At first it seemed like a regular Sunday morning worship service. But as the pastor eloquently spoke about how we ought to ask Jesus to examine us now and then, I began to feel God’s Spirit whispering that now would be a good time to ask God THE question growing in my heart. So I uttered this prayer:
“God, is there anything you would like to change in my life?” I didn’t expect such an immediate and powerful response from The Almighty that morning. “Grady, you have a problem with the sin of anger,” was his retort.
Normally such a response would have made me angry, which is proof that God has a marvelous sense of irony and humor. I had never considered anger as a potential sin. I thought my anger was valid, even righteous. But there it was in Ephesians 4:26-27: “In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” I had to face the truth: my anger was selfish. Rarely did I get angry on behalf of others wronged by injustice or bad behavior. A deep conviction and guilt filled my soul. There were tears.
You see, anger had subtly infected too many areas of my life. Sure, I didn’t journey through my days with rage spewing from my lips 24/7, and I was not a physically violent person, but I lived in a near constant state of anger or irritation at the most innocuous inconveniences. And I’m ashamed to admit that my family bore the brunt of that anger.
When I asked God for help with this problem, he at once set to work crushing the things in my life that fed the fell beast of anger. Thus began a multi-year purge of anger in my life. I won’t lie and say it was always a pleasant or transcendent experience. It was not. It was painful and it took longer than I ever imagined. But I can honestly say that I would never go back to the old me, unless I get dementia in old age and revert to the grump of my youth. Granted, God is fully capable of miraculously eliminating unclean habits, behaviors, and attitudes in the lives of his children, but more often than not it is a tedious process filled with setbacks and little victories.
But I digress. The point of this post is to encourage all followers of Christ to ask God to examine us and let us know what he would like to change in us. This is not a self-help theology. It is an imperative for believers so that we can become more malleable to the will of God and to have a greater impact in our circles of influence.
The process also draws us into a better understanding of, and love for, the nature of the Kingdom of God. But as I said, it can be a long painful journey. So don’t ask God unless you mean it. Such a request of God will be a herculean task for some believers, especially those who have chosen blindness to self over the light. Ironically the same people often believe that they know themselves and don’t have any major issues for God to deal with. And how great is their darkness?
"Don't ask God unless you mean it..."
I believe God loves us so much that he chomps at the bit to rid us of the darkness that prevents us from seeing our self. But here’s the catch: We have to humble ourselves and ask him, much like David’s plea in Psalm 139:23-24: “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Do not fear this supplication, but don’t treat it lightly, either. You will feel much better when God finishes a work in you. And don’t worry if you think you have a long list of unwholesome stuff that God wants to deal with. In my experience, God does not tackle more work than we can handle. He doesn’t mind dealing with the junk in your life one thing at a time. So don’t be afraid to ask if there is anything he wants to change in your life. And brace yourself for his wonderful response.
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