God has been stretching me in ways I did not expect this summer. I knew I would be taken out of my comfort zone, but I did not know that God would begin to stir questions deep in my heart; radical questions...soul questions.
One thing that God is revealing to me this summer is how deceitfully wicked my heart is. I know that is a sentence most people wouldn't have seen coming...
"What did God teach you this summer as a staff for YouthWorks?"
--"That I am deceitfully wicked."
That just doesn't seem to be the number one response to that question. But this is the message that God is placing in my heart.
Every four evenings a week, I share God's word through talks with youth. This is my job whether my heart and mind are in the right place or not.
When I was working as a part time youth pastor, I never fully grasped what God was trying to teach me in that time, but I think I am beginning to see some of that now. I think one reason I could never stand to be called "Pastor Tyler" when I worked at the church in Warroad was because somewhere deep down I couldn't stand to recognize that a deceitfully wicked man was given the responsibility of speaking truth into the lives of young people. I felt I had no right.
Matthew 5:8 stings when I read it, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." It hurts because where does that leave those with dirty hearts; people like me? It leaves us blinded to God. Our eyes, hearts, minds become so focused on the dirt and the clutter that it is all we see--its all we want to see. How can I help others see God if I am blinded to him?
There are some very obviously impure things that blind us to God, but then there are those things that are pure until we let them have a thrown in our life before God. Matt Chandler reminds us that Paul in Philippians 3:8 counts all things rubbish that don't give us more of Christ. God has been calling me to examine what is on the thrown of my heart. If my heart isn't pure, and if I am not seeking Him, then I am not seeing God. And the scary thing is that I and a lot of people think we are seeing God when we really aren't. Our hearts are to wicked to see Him, and we can be deceived into thinking we know Him when we really don't. I referenced Matthew 7:21-23 in an earlier post, and I reference it again because this is what God is stirring in my heart, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven." It scares me to know that it is possible to think I know Christ, to think I have experienced Him, but to not truly know Him or see Him because my heart is impure, and disobedient. It scares me to think that I invite the creation onto the thrown of my life before the Creator. Have I ever truly put the Creator first, or have I just pretended to. Have you? I pray that I truly know Him; that I haven't made up a fake god that satisfies me, but isn't real. I pray that you know him too.
I know that I can't see or know God fully this side of Heaven, His face is now but a poor reflection until that day I see Him face to face when I am fully reconciled to my king. But I now believe that its not possible to "just get by" with Christ. We either love and serve him as our Lord and Savior, or we don't.
We cannot save our souls, we can only give them to the God who can. A soul cannot be divided, we either give ourselves to Him or we don't.
My heart is deceitfully wicked, keeping me from seeing and knowing God the way I could. I want to humble my heart, surrender my sin, turn from all wickedness, and seek his face. I want to be pure. I want to see God.
"Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land."--2 Chronicles 7:14