In my previous two “Blogging Past Sunday” posts I looked at 4 Ways to Become More Courageous and linked to an article on 5 Steps to Dealing with Opposition. This is in an effort to add more flesh to Sunday’s sermon, Every Lasting Change, a second in the series Restore: Lessons on rebuilding from Nehemiah. Today I want to talk about living in reality. As we saw on Sunday, every lasting change requires an honest assessment of reality.
Invite the Holy Spirit to Search You – One group that really gets this is AA. When you work the steps the real begins with Step 4, taking an inventory of your hurts, those you’ve hurt and the reality of your life at present. Successful completion of the steps requires that this assessment be made and be accurate. Personally, I like to begin with Psalm 139 when it comes to taking an honest assessment,
139 O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
3 You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
5 You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it. (ESV)
I often lie to myself about my condition. Sometimes intentionally in order to justify my own thoughts and actions. Most of the time it’s unintentional because my ability to search myself is limited. According to Psalm 139, however, God’s ability to search me and know me is not limited in any way. I invite the Holy Spirit to,
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting! (ESV)
The Holy Spirit always reveals truth to me. Sometimes the truth is in the form of conviction leading to repentance, to a changed heart and life. Other times the truth is in the form of affirmation, leading to joy and thanksgiving for an already changed heart and life. Always truth though, and always gentle.
Invite the Body of Christ to Speak Into Your Life – Another great way of living in reality is to be part of a band, Bands are groups of people (same gender, approximately same age, same life situation, etc.) that meet weekly to answer a few questions: (1) What sins have you committed since we last met?; (2) What temptations have you met with and how did you overcome them?; (3) What have you thought, said, or done which you doubt whether or not it be sin?; (4) Have you anything you desire to keep secret?
There’s nothing quite so powerful as a group of men or women seeking to drive all sin out of their lives in the Holy Spirit.
Obey Scripture – This one is perhaps the easiest and the most difficult. Instead of trying to discern God’s “special will” for your life, begin obeying his “revealed will” for your life as laid forth in Scripture. Remember, we are allowed to go beyond Scripture (using Scripture, reason, tradition, and experience to discern what is right and line with the spirit of the word), but we are never allowed to go against Scripture.
There you have it, three ways to live in reality. I pray you learn much about yourself and that the Holy Spirit begins to make you whole and holy through and through.