When I was struggling with some negative emotions recently, the Lord brought the above verse to my remembrance. I had just had a very hurtful and disappointing experience, and I just couldn't seem to shake off the negative feelings that were clinging to me. I kept telling myself that I shouldn't feel the way I did, and that I shouldn't let things bother me so much. But no matter how I tried, I just couldn't break free from the oppressive emotions that were pulling me down. As I was praying and seeking God about the matter, I began to sense that He was saying to me - "Why don't you stop talking about how you SHOULDN'T feel - and start telling Me how you DO feel?"
That's when the verse above took on new meaning for me. It showed me that if I want to have a truly intimate relationship with God, then I have to be completely honest and open with Him at all times. In this situation, part of me didn't want to admit that I was feeling jealous, prideful, and fearful. And I certainly didn't want to admit that I was feeling sorry for myself. I wanted to think that I was above all that, and that I was in control. But it wasn't until I turned to God and said - "This is how I REALLY feel, Lord...and I need Your help" - that I began to experience the peace and freedom that He wanted me to lay hold of.
It's true that if we are going to follow in Christ's footsteps, we're going to have to regularly shake off sinful attitudes like pride and selfishness. But many times, before we can successfully shake them off, we need to share them honestly with God, and then ask Him to forgive us, cleanse us, and give us more of His grace. Otherwise, they will keep coming back to haunt us. Sometimes, we even need to share these wrong attitudes with a godly person who is trustworthy, and who will intercede for us. Scripture says, "Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed." (James 5:16 NIV) Praying for those who have hurt and offended us is an important part of the healing process, too. The Bible tells us that the Lord didn't restore to Job all that he had lost, until he prayed for the friends who had deeply wounded him. (Job 42:8,10)
The Amplified translation of Psalm 145:18 reads: "The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him sincerely and in truth." As we strive to be sincere in all of our dealings with God, we will enjoy sweet and intimate fellowship with Him. One way that will help us to stay on track in this area, is to regularly ask the Lord to examine our hearts and minds. David's prayer in Psalm 139 is a perfect way to do that: "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of everlasting life." (Psalm 139:23-24 NLT)
Don't try to hold anything back from God. It will only keep you from experiencing the fullness of His presence and blessing in your life. Call upon Him in truth and sincerity today, and discover a deeper walk with Him than you have ever known. May this precious promise from the Lord sustain you - "Open up before God, keep nothing back; He'll do whatever needs to be done!" (Psalm 37:5 MSG)
Prayer: Lord, help me to be quick to tell You honestly when I am struggling with negative attitudes and emotions, and to ask for Your help. If it's Your will for me to confide in a fellow believer, please show me who that should be. Remind me to pray for those who hurt me, so that I may walk in wholeness. Thank You that as I call on You in truth, I will enjoy a vibrant relationship with You!
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