Today’s post is a bit long, but worth the read, I believe.
“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best ….”
Yesterday was a test for me as I set off to do errands, 14 in all. I’d prayed about them and most of them went smoothly except two, the last, and most desired ones. My natural reaction was to focus on these unaccomplished items, to be distressed and upset.
However, as part of the on-going revival in my life, the Holy Spirit reminded me of the habitual sins I had “confessed ahead” just that morning: complaining instead of praising, idol worship (“If this doesn’t work out, I can’t be happy”), judgmental, negative thinking, and selfishness. So, with His help, I deliberately chose to reject these and instead to praise Him for what couldn’t be done and to thank Him for what was accomplished.
With His guidance, I chose to “let go of the temporal, hold on to the eternal and rise above.” There is such freedom in this; when I got home, I could be pleasant and positive with my little wife, having no burden of discontent.
What keeps this revival going? There are four principles which open the way to continual refreshment in my life.
1. Small things repeated often are powerful.
Taking vitamins and brushing your teeth regularly bring long term positive results. Regular quiet times bring bigger results as I follow the disciplines of daily worship, confession, being in the Word and prayer—these are cooperation with the Spirit in being transformed.
Along with this, asking for revival every day is effective, if we add the next 3 principles.
2. Deal with the next sin God is pointing out.
What is God convicting me of? This “next sin” is often something that appears to be small and unimportant, (grouchiness, unnecessary snacks, staying up too late, etc.) but is a key to a significant issue in my life. Deal with it: name it, confess it, forsake it. Adrian Rogers is credited with saying, “What we believe we obey; all the rest is religious talk.”
3. Confess ahead.
Another small act that adds up. It is powerful to regularly confess my tendency to commit certain sins (at present I have a list of 52! I “confess ahead” 10 or so a day), to ask for help in rejecting these tendencies and commit to obedience. Doing this reminds me of my weaknesses, helps me to be alert to my tendency to react naturally, and to instead choose the supernatural response.
4. Be aware of how our worldview tends to blind and bind us.
Ask God to help us discern where our natural thinking and values conflict with His. Ask Him to help us discern what is of the world, the flesh and the devil so we can reject them and do the opposite, obeying Him.
If we practice these principles, our love will “abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight so that we may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness…to the glory and praise of God” (Phil. 1:9-11).
Prayer: “Lord, help me to be consistent in spending time with you in the Word and prayer, in confessing ahead and dealing with the next sin. Help me to see where my natural worldview clashes with yours and to make the necessary shift. Amen.”