Many of us are always trying find ways to improve, grow and get better. You may read books, listen to podcasts. You may try to read or pray more and do all sorts of things in the hopes that there will be some change in your life. But do you ever feel like no matter how many books you read, sermons/podcasts you listen to, or how many times you write your goals down in your planner, it just feels like change seems far away? I think this is partly due to the fact that transformation is a process that takes time. However, I would like to propose one thing that can help that process.
I think many times our problem is not having more knowledge. We can know the right thing or the right answer and still do the other thing. Why? Because it is not about knowledge — it is about wisdom. Mere knowledge will allow you to recite the right answer but wisdom will allow you to discern if the choice you are making is the right one. So the question is, “How do I get wisdom?” Proverbs 1:7 says, “ the Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” Isn’t that interesting? Of all things that could be the starting of wisdom, God teaches us through the Scriptures that it starts with the fear of the Lord. It is one of those weird exceptions where we are not supposed give in to any fear, yet when it comes to the fear of the Lord we are to cherish it. Fear in any other situation would cause chaos, anxiety, and uncertainty but the Fear of the Lord brings order, security, and confidence. Normally you run away from the things you are afraid of but the fear of the Lord actually brings you closer to Him. I think this is something David understood well, especially as he writes Psalms 139:23-24:
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
Give attention to what he asks of God. He says, “search me and know my heart.” What a simple request and yet if we want true change in our lives, we need to make this same request to God. Is it that God does not know what is in our heart? Of course not. But the asking is reflective of a humble heart. It shows that a person is willing to receive correction, to be shown their brokenness and depravity and not point the finger at situations, or at others. Next he says, “Test me...point out anything in me that offends you!” I remember there was a season when God started to confront me very strongly on various areas of my life. At first I was uncomfortable. I was all for God changing me little by little. But this felt like a full on flood of just being drowned in my flaws. It reached the point where I asked God to stop. Fortunately, He didn’t, but he began to reveal to me that the reason he was revealing all this stuff was because He loved me too much to just let me stay there. What was overwhelmingly uncomfortable for me was also one of the most loving things God did for me. When we can honestly ask God to search our heart, and humble ourselves to receive his correction, that is when we are led into the path of righteousness. When is the last time you felt God confront you? If it has been a while, it might be time to ask him to search your heart.