Examine yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you. – unless indeed you fail to meet the test! — 2 Corinthians 13:5
Occasionally, I like to take this verse as seriously as possible and take a good, long, hard, look at myself. In the past, I’ve allowed myself to believe that I was okay when I was not. I simply look at what God is doing in my life. What is going well? What are my convictions? Am I dealing with them? Or am I ignoring them? I must be brutally honest . . . this is one test I do not want to fail. The King James says “except ye be reprobates” at the end of the verse, which simply means that you aren’t living by Biblical principles. I don’t think we necessarily need to beat ourselves up during this test, but we want to know with certainty that God is working in our hearts, minds, and lives . . . at least I do.
This past weekend, God did something amazing for me. I went on what I call “my little prayer walk.” Lately, I have ended it at the little church that is near my home. I just sit there and pray for as long as I can. However, this time was different. As soon as I sat on the steps, my prayers went up to heaven in one fell swoop. In the same way God often gives me messages to preach, He took my prayers from me. It was instantaneous and if I had to write them all down, it would have taken so much time. I didn’t know what to do. My plan was to sit there and talk for a while. I proceeded to just enjoy my surroundings. I realized that God simply wanted to sit there with me for a while. No talking. Just sit there together with Him enjoying everything that my eyes were seeing. Things like this let me know God is in me and that God is with me.
The very next day, I went to see a band called Demon Hunter in Asheville, NC. I remember buying their album “The Triptych” probably 15 years ago and thinking, “man . . . these guys are different.” They were trying to reach a crowd that most religious folks simply wrote off as “going to hell.” Just being around all that energy and those loud, thundering guitars . . . I don’t know why . . . it just does it for me. I guess I will forever be a teenager that loves concerts. I sure look forward to the many we will experience in Heaven.
Anyway, I tell you this because I enjoyed the time sitting with God at the little church. I should have enjoyed the concert, but I haven’t enjoyed the past few that I have attended. You see, I know that there are a handful of religious people that love to stalk my Facebook page and make judgements about me because of my posts. For whatever reason, I like making posts that give them fuel to say things like, “Look at where he is . . . and he is supposedly a preacher.” Whereas this was fun the first few times . . . now it is sucking the life and enjoyment out of the things that I love to do and experience. I’m not simply allowing God to be with me because I’m too busy trying to kick a religious hornet’s nest so to speak. As I type it out and read it, it sounds so stupid. It’s like, “Adam . . . what are you doing?” I know I’ve got to let this one go. But it is during examinations of my heart like this where I find out what I’m doing well that I need to keep doing, and where I find the things that I’ve just got to stop.
To him that knows to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. – James 4:17
I have no idea if this makes any sense to you as readers. I don’t even know if this is the kind of stuff I should write or if I should keep it to myself. I just pray that God is honored through my life and that I continue to grow in Him. If I can help a few people here and there along the way, then that makes my life worth living.
Lord, more than anything, I want to enjoy You. I want to be ever so aware that You are with me in all situations. I’m tired of taking time-outs just to take digs at religious, judgmental, church people who look down their noses on others who don’t keep their rules as well as they do. Why in the world do I even waste that kind of time? I’ve been where they are, so more importantly, why am I not praying for them? Who wants to be the older brother in Luke 15 that can’t even enjoy a celebration for his brother who has come home? Who should have to be begged by the Father to enjoy a party? I don’t know, Lord. Will You please help me to put childish ways behind me? Will You help me to enjoy absolutely every component of my life. I’ve read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. I’ve read of how those guys are literally burning and still singing praises to You. I can’t seem to do it in good things that I should be enjoying. You have really hooked me up in life. You’ve given me so much. Help me to give back to You. Help me make my life pleasing to You, O Lord my God, and my redeemer. Amen!