Justification. Reasoning through our human nature.
These are very real areas in which we humans struggle all too often. We don’t like to talk about it. We don’t like to admit it.
Yet the struggle is real in our thought life, both sexual and non-sexual.
Oftentimes, we justify and give acceptable reasons as to why our thought life is not so bad or harmful. Sometimes, we even find a way to tie a “good motive” to it. As women, sometimes we justify continual or obsessive thoughts with how we are feeling. We feel so many emotions!
I have found that when it comes down to it, justification and reasoning no longer matter, and what is left is what we know God sees deep within us.
In Genesis 6:5-8 it says, “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the Lord said, ‘I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.’ But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.”
I SO desire for my heart to reflect all that is pleasing to God. Of course, we all have struggles! Of course, we aren’t perfect. But when God sees us striving to please him with our innermost being in our private life, our thought life, and areas hidden from the public eye, he delights in our obedience.
In 2012, God had been dealing with my heart. He said, “I want you to see people how I see them.” I told God, “Lord, you know I love all kinds of people with deep empathy and understanding. I know your love for them, and I ache for people deeply.”
He repeated, “But I want YOU to see people how I see people.” I realized that what I told God was great, but it was still how I saw people, not how he wanted me to see people. He was preparing me and stretching my heart even more for various reasons. In year 2013, I was tested in a weak area. When I started dating Josh, my husband, his ex-girlfriend started contacting him for various reasons and appeared divisive. In my mind, I thought that I could think and feel in my heart however I wanted when some chick was trying to worm her way into a relationship God put into my life. She was a Christian and working through her own journey, but I saw her as the enemy at that time. I had a lot of hurt set into my life from a previous relationship/marriage, and I felt justified. Then, God gently spoke into my heart and spirit, “But, she’s my child too.” Wow. I remember, sitting alone at the dining room table in my parent’s house, and the air was SO thick. His gentle words hit my soul like wave. I felt God’s heart. I felt his love. I felt how he hurt when his children were not in unity with his heart about people he loved and cared for. This is just one small example of all the broad areas it touches: negativity, lustfulness, jealousy, comparison, pride, etc.
I love Proverbs 20:27, “The lamp of the Lord searches the spirit of a man; it searches out his inmost being.”
Wow! I love how that verse directly states what is important to God, yet at the same time, it scares me. Oh, the pressure! Oh, the guilt that can follow! The ways in which I have failed before, and my desire not to to fail again!
Our God is a God of redemption and forgiveness, not guilt and condemnation. Correction by him may not always feel the greatest; it also may be painful for us to admit our sin and weakness, but all of it is good.
Sometimes good things don’t always feel good. And sometimes what feels good isn’t always good for us! (Like realizing you ate way more ice cream than you originally thought *cough cough*).
Sometimes our wounds will sting, as they do when God reveals to us what needs to be refined or as we tend to each other through accountability, just like hydrogen peroxide does to an abrasion.
This isn’t about perfection by any means, nor is it about comparison. As women, we get caught up in comparison way too much! This is about growing in our thought life, because how we choose to nurture our heart and spirit through our obedience, allowing God to dwell in our deepest places, directly impacts how we “glow”! Continual “heart-checks” of our thought life are imperative so we can GROW and GLOW in our strong walk with God, and our output into other people’s lives.