BEING MY OWN MESSIAH
Does it ever end? Â The wrestling in the heart of man for attention? So many things in our society are put in place to train us in self-promotion and marketing ourselves. Â From social media venues like Twitter and Facebook, to TV shows like American Idol, Biggest Loser and even the Olympics. Â Ever so slightly, we are encouraged to become focused and take pride in our own efforts, adoration, abilities, achievements (big or small) and high opinions (intellectual). Â Now just to clarify, Iâ€™m not saying that these venues are bad in and of themselves. In fact some can actually serve a great purpose. Â But I am saying that we must continue to guard our hearts with zeal as the days grow darker, because the reality of our hearts is what will matter in the end.
Recently I have discovered the depth of darkness rooted in the societal deathtrap surrounding me, by opening myself to the Holy Spirit to examine my insides (Ps. 26:2). Â Wow! Â What was revealed, brought Matthew 23:25-33 to the forefront of my heart, causing me to tremble at how far off the narrow road I had allowed myself to go. Â It also caused me to realize how little the fear of God was in my life. Â For the first time in a long time the verses in Matthew 23 were not focused on some other group of people to preach at, but fully alive to my own self.Â
â€œWoe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside may become clean too! Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs that look beautiful on the outside but inside are full of the bones of the dead and of everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you look righteous to people, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. And you say, â€˜If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have participated with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.â€™ By saying this you testify against yourselves that you are descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up then the measure of your ancestors! You snakes, you offspring of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Â Matt. 23:25-33
There are no words to describe my thanks to the Lord for His mercy and grace through this journey of cleansing, purifying and preparing me for His return to the earth. Â Most the time I just cry for a while in joy over the work He is doing in me through His Holy Spirit, and Him sanctifying all the crap that I have allowed to be rooted so deeply in my life over the years.
DIEING TO BE PRAISED
So, over months, and even more intense over the past weeks, God has been exposing with clarity the deceptiveness of my heart. Â And even beyond that, He has been revealing how I had made way for the training of my heart in deception over the past years, using platforms of ministry. Â Below is one of my recent tweets that gives a glimpse into what I am getting at.
Richee is pondering how he can be sharing truth but at the same time it be the platform 4 executing sin. As a cloak 4 pride, envy, anger, rage, etc.
One of my most recent revelations when it comes to all this, is the depth of envy and jealousy that I have realized floods my heart on a daily basis if I don’t stay connected to the Vine (John 15). Â If envy was an Olympic event, Iâ€™m sure I would have received a medal. Â Through much time in prayer, God has allowed me to discover the strategic methods that I have trained myself in to compensate for lack of attention based on jealousy/envy. Â While being within many different ministry settings over time, I quickly realized that outward envy and jealousy didnâ€™t actually gain reputation and recognition. Â So, I learned to hide it well and actually use it as my momentum to raise myself higher in the eyes of others. Â When someone else would be esteemed and I wasn’t, much of the time I would turn up the “charisma dial” in order to raise my “praise meter” from others, and regain my level of (in)security that I had in the opinions of others toward me. Â
The great thing about it all is that in seeing my sin for what it is, I know that it is only Him who can rescue me from it all. Â Basically, I am learning to truly just lean on Him, cry out to His Holy Spirit to â€œstrengthen me in my inner man by His powerâ€ (Eph. 3:16), listen, then obey. Â Simple solution, but what fruit it has produced in recent weeks and days. Â And what temptation there is to move back to the complexities of seeking to control. Â I have found through Godâ€™s help and revelation, that I rarely relied on His Spirit to lead the processes of my life. Â How I would refuse submitting to Him the controls of my life that kept my own glorification intact. Â And I made great Biblical excuses in order to keep my sin covert/hidden from the “ministry world” and those that were around. Â In all honesty, I lied to myself and others over and over in order to prop up my reputation, theology and inner lifestyle of deception.Â
THANKS TO MY MESSIAH
Some who know me and read this might think, â€œWoh Rich! Arenâ€™t you dramatizing and exaggerating just a little?â€ Nope. I really have been that dark on the inside, but the Lordâ€™s patience and mercy should take center stage in the journey I am describing. Â As I continue to get a reality of the coming of the Son of Man (Jesus), it throws me to my face. Â And it is there where God reveals and removes the slightest subtleties of my heart, causing me to work out my salvation with fear and trembling and grab the look of His eyes (Phil. 2:12; Is. 66:2). Â
Praise be to God and His mercy over my life! I find that the pride of life is always nipping at my heels and now know with a confidence in my heart (not just a knowing in my head) that the only way to walk faithful to the Lord is through a continuous cry to the Holy Spirit for â€œHelp!â€ Â I canâ€™t help but rely on Him in so much of my daily processes of interacting with people, the Lord, and just life. Â Apart from that, I find that the eyes of my heart quickly become blurry with insecurity, pride, envy, jealousy, etc. Â The one person we need the attention of is the living God, so let us pray, pray and then pray more!
I want to end with Psalm 34 because it highlights some of the burnings of this post. Â
I will bless the Lord at all times; â€¨his praise shall continually be in my mouth.â€¨Â My soul makes its boast in the Lord;â€¨let the humble hear and be glad.â€¨ Oh, magnify the Lord with me,â€¨and let us exalt his name together! I sought the Lord, and he answered meâ€¨and delivered me from all my fears.â€¨ Those who look to him are radiant,â€¨and their faces shall never be ashamed.â€¨ This poor man cried, and the Lord heard himâ€¨and saved him out of all his troubles.â€¨ The angel of the Lord encampsâ€¨around those who fear him, and delivers them. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!â€¨Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!â€¨ Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints,â€¨for those who fear him have no lack!â€¨ The young lions suffer want and hunger;â€¨but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. Come, O children, listen to me; â€¨I will teach you the fear of the Lord.â€¨ What man is there who desires lifeâ€¨and loves many days, that he may see good?â€¨ Keep your tongue from evilâ€¨and your lips from speaking deceit.â€¨ Turn away from evil and do good;â€¨seek peace and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteousâ€¨and his ears toward their cry.â€¨ The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,â€¨to cut off the memory of them from the earth.â€¨ When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hearsâ€¨and delivers them out of all their troubles.â€¨ The Lord is near to the brokenheartedâ€¨and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous,â€¨but the Lord delivers him out of them all.â€¨ He keeps all his bones;â€¨not one of them is broken.â€¨ Affliction will slay the wicked,â€¨and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.â€¨ The Lord redeems the life of his servants;â€¨none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.