Last night my mother made a suggestion that someone should clean the bathtub. My first response was, “I’d do it, but I’d gag.” She went on to scold me about my unwillingness to do certain things around the house. I didn’t dwell on it much. I listened, but I think I put her admonishment on the shelf of my mind. Unbeknownst to me, God would later retrace my steps and take it off the shelf and force me to deal with it, amongst other things.
These last few days I have been trying to go before God with a consecrated heart with hopes in deepening my relationship with Him. Every day this week has seriously been a struggle. The first couple of days I missed my early morning devotion and prayer with the Lord. The subsequent days were mediocre moments of prayer rather than the passionate, intimate moments I’ve grown accustomed to. Needless to say, I was beyond discouraged and I could barely withhold the thoughts of defeat. I kept wondering what was wrong with me. I couldn’t stay focused on my prayers. I’d fall asleep in the middle of talking to Him. I’d get absolutely nothing from devotion with Him. I’d spend all day reading the Word, but I felt like it was all for naught. I kept straining to hear the voice of God, but instead I heard deafening silence. Every night before I drifted off to sleep, I would secretly condemn myself for being such a lousy Christian. Every night my knees were buckling underneath the weight of intimidation and misconception that I had to say the perfect, fiery, long prayers in order to move God’s heart. Each day when I arose to spend time with Him, I was disappointed over and over again.
This morning, God showed me where I have erred. He showed me that rather than worshiping Him, I have been trying to impress Him. He showed me where my pride has crushed me and caused me to defeat myself. I’ve put pressure on myself when He has not. He doesn’t want anything extra from me but sincerity in heart. I have been hoping to woo Him and make Him happy, but I’ve been operating in flesh rather than from the heart. God honors worship from the heart. He wants me to go back to loving on Him genuinely, rather than trying to perform for Him. I did not even realize that this was pride! I was trying to win God over with awesome prayer, spending hours in the Word, listening to ministry podcasts. None of those things worked to move me closer to God because I was operating with mechanics rather than with fervor for my God. I was crossing things off of the list rather than doing them because I so loved Him and wanted to communicate with Him. No wonder I couldn’t hear from Him!
But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. — James 4:6, NKJV
God couldn’t come near me because the pride in my heart crowded Him out. It repelled Him. Even though my mouth said I needed more of Him, my prideful heart was searching for spiritual satisfaction. How foolish! There IS no spiritual satisfaction outside of the Lord Himself. He is my satisfaction. After He revealed the true condition of my heart, I began to pray in sincerity and for the first time all week, I felt the presence of God descend. My heart swelled with love for Him again. In the midst of all that, He whispered to me, “Clean the bathtub.”
What can you say when the Great I AM instructs you to do something you might not want to do? You completely obey and say, “Yes, Sir!” So, when my mother and sisters left the house, I turned on my favorite worship playlist and got to work. Before I knew it I was sweating and my arms were sore. I was beginning to get disgruntled. No matter how hard I scrubbed some areas, the dirt and scum would not relent. The bleach was beginning to make my stomach turn and it was frustrating. Finally I got the tub as clean as I could, but I still wasn’t satisfied with my job. As I stared at the finished product, I realized why God wanted me to clean the tub.
The tub was in bad shape, but I went in there and scrubbed the hardest I could only to be disappointed. The tub was clean, but it didn’t yield the sparkle I wanted to achieve. Then I realize this is what I had been trying to do with God. I was trying to get myself together, make myself look good for God, but I was doing a horrible job at it and I was still left feeling unsatisfied. Only God’s redeeming love and the blood of Jesus could clean me up and make me into the person I want so desperately to become. I can’t do it in my own strength, my own will, my own works. Only God can make that which is red as scarlet white as snow. I was beating myself up because my “tub” wasn’t clean and I was unwilling to let God do the cleaning. Jesus is in the business of cleaning up our mess, so I wonder why it took me almost a week to let Him do the scrubbing. What does it profit to sweat and grow in fatigue if I can’t even do the job? Enough of trying to impress God with my cleaning skills. I don’t have the slightest idea how to clean this life of mine, but He does. Jesus already tendered the blood. My only job is the receive the grace He has freely given, obey His voice and pursue Him with no abandon.
My heart beats with the fervor to see His face. I’ve realigned myself with Him and I cannot wait to spend time with Him again. I’m counting down the hours until our next encounter. I’ve come (back) to grips with the fact that I am completely undone and I am nothing without the redeeming love of Jesus Christ.
♫ Now Playing: “Show Us Your Glory” by Rick Pino ♫