A Testimony of Transparency
Out of Dry Ground
The year was 1982, we were living in Abilene, Texas, and I was managing a restaurant. A simple run two years prior led to a very destructive attitude. The voice of my heart said I left my family in New York to serve you; for three years, I studied nights while working days and served every month at Christian schools in Nursing homes, jails, Rescue missions, Labor camps, and Campsites. We packed up and moved again, halfway across the country, and now I'm told I can't serve because of sin in my past that I repented years ago. After how I have served You, is this how You treat me?
Nauseating sentiments, aren't they? With the stumbling block set before me and my eyes on my own feet and not upon the scarred brow of the Son of God, I fell headlong into despair and self-centeredness. Two years later, I'm standing in my bedroom still with unopened boxes and my Bible collecting a boatload of dust. The thought occurs to me, "What are you doing?" So I picked up my Bible and proceeded to the living room, where I opened to Judges, the story of Samson.
Samson was a man of God, empowered with great strength probably far beyond any other man who ever lived. He had a touch of sincerity and a pinch of humility, but who did God's will the world's way. E.M. Bounds said the same about his generation, and He was a man who spent much time with God. Today, I feel the Church in America is living much like Samson.
After killing a thousand men with the jawbone of a donkey, he said, "With the jawbone of a donkey, heaps upon heaps, with the jawbone of a donkey I have killed a thousand men." (Judges 15:16) As you might think, he became very thirsty after the slaughter and said to God. "You have handed this great victory over to Your servant, and now am I to die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?" Put another way, "After how I have served You, is this how You treat me?"
I took my son and went to the hardware store a short time later. I said to him, he being only six, "Stay close." After checking out, we got back in the car and had not spoken a word going or coming back home. Lost in the darkness of night and my thoughts of faithlessness and guilt, I heard the voice of a six-year-old boy coming out of the darkness. "Daddy, can Jesus come into a broken heart." Thinking I couldn't have heard those words, I asked, "What did you say?" "Can Jesus come into a broken heart?" I replied, "That is the only heart Jesus can come into son."
I was beginning to understand what my heart already knew, that Biblical brokenness was not someone that couldn't behave well but someone emptied of self-worth. This truth separates religion that annoys God from Christ-centeredness that becomes a delight in Him. "You do not take pleasure in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, God, You will not despise." So said, David! (Psalm 51:16, 17)
My dear brothers and sisters, have you been humbled before the cross of Jesus Christ, through which you have been saved? Has Christ chipped away at your hardness of heart in the garden where Jesus prayed and became a faithful High Priest who is not untouched by the feelings of our infirmities but was in all points tempted as we, yet without sin?
Please realize that Jesus doesn't desire your religion when you pretend to be okay. Make it a practice of bowing down daily; He will lift you up, and you will be genuine. Transparency is not an option for a believer who needs cleansing; it's a necessity.
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