Christian, Where Are You?
By Laura Bagby
Do you know what your spiritual orientation is? If I were to give
you the compass of the Holy Spirit, could you find True North in your heart?
I know what you are going to say, and it is the same thing I have said over
and over again: Of course I know. I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I am
trusting in Him and letting Him lead and guide me. Please don't patronize
me by reminding me of something I already know.
We can get easily offended when someone asks us where we really are in our
spiritual walk. I think that is because we don't want to be held accountable.
We don't want to admit that perhaps we have a problem with unconfessed sin
in our hearts.
But what if God is the One asking?
In Genesis 3, when Adam and Eve sinned, they ran and hid among the trees
of the garden. God called out to Adam and said, "Where are you?" Instead of
telling the truth -- "Lord, I am in the bushes because I sinned and ate from
the tree you told me not to eat from and that was wrong" -- Adam told God
that he was playing hide-and-seek because he was afraid. When confronted by
his sin, his own lustful desires that went awry, Adam chose to proclaim to
the Lord how badly we felt and alluded to the fact that God was just expecting
Adam seemed to know where he was when he told God, "I heard you in the garden,
and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid" (Genesis 3:10). But Adam had
no idea where he stood spiritually. He had no idea that he was not just among
the bushes, but in the thick of the saddest, deadliest, darkest place ever.
He thought he was just a stone's throw away from the soothing presence of
God; in reality, he was dead center in the grip of Satan, awaiting a penalty
that would change his relationship with God and humanity for the rest of his
When God calls out to us, "Where are you, My child?" He isn't playing a friendly
game of tag. He is asking us about the condition of our hearts. And when He
asks us, it isn't for His benefit. He asks for our benefit. It astounds me
that what is most obvious to God and to even the people around us who are
truly following the Lord can often confound us. God asks because without His
Spirit guiding us, prompting us to look at ourselves, we are often blind to
our own sin. But more than just getting us to see ourselves the way we really
are -- sinners who have offended God deeply -- He wants us to own up to our
sinfulness and then redirect our lives to God.
If we dont make an effort to reign in the flesh and instead follow
vigilantly after the things of God, then sin can creep in and we dont
even know it. We shake it off as a bad day. We rationalize it as human nature
or a weakness or even a personality flaw. We might even blame God. Call it
what you want. In the end, it is sin. And when we walk in unknown and unconfessed
sin, we stop the flow of Gods blessings in our lives.
It isnt Gods fault; it is truly our fault. God is great and He
can do great things, but because He gave us free will to choose, He will not
trespass where we dont want Him to go.
David said in Psalm 139: 23-24, "Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in
me, and lead me in the way everlasting." How often have we asked the
Lord lately, "Uncover the mess, Lord, find the holes in my logic, take the
skeletons out of the closet, I want You to infiltrate my whole being so that
I do not offend You by my unclean heart?" What a prayer that would be!
God says that He opposes the proud but lifts up the humble. I dont
know about you, but I spend an awful lot of time in self-righteous arguments
and very little time in humility before God. But I know that when, through
the power of the Holy Spirit, God reveals an area of sin in my life that needs
to be dealt with, and I confess my sin to the Lord, guess what happens? He
is faithful and just to forgive my sin and cleanse me of all unrighteousness
(1 John 1:9). Then His storehouse of blessing is once again available to me.
Remember the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-24) who ran away from home, spent everything,
and ended up in the pigsty? How come Big Daddy didnt run out and find
him? Why did He leave that young man suffering? Because Daddy knew it was
incredibly important for the son to know where he really was. Why? Sin deceived
the prodigal into thinking that he was entering into a season of prosperity,
an endless world of luxury where he was finally in control of his own destiny.
Here he could leave the confines of home and tread his own path and sow his
wild oats just like a young, thriving man was supposed to do. It took a while
for him to see that his way ended in poverty. And then it took more time for
him to realize that all this was the result of chasing after sinful desires.
It could have ended there, as it could end with us when we realize the weight
of our sin in the pure light of Gods presence. We could all stay feeding
the pigs, wallowing in the muck of our failures before the Lord. Satan would
love us to consider ourselves worms. God, on the other hand, has called us
to be much more than worms. He has called us to be His royal sons and daughters.
But merely knowing this is not enough. We can know that we did wrong, but
if we never turn our faces back toward God and choose to run back to Him,
we will never be conquerors and we will never truly please Him. Although we
are self-made when it comes to sin, we are certainly not self-made Christians.
Our efforts to clean ourselves up will never be good enough. We need the Lord,
our royal Daddy, graciously running to meet us as we attempt to find our way
back to Him.
And get this. That prodigal not only found forgiveness and restoration to
the family, but he found favor. He got a wonderful banquet. He got a robe
and a gold ring. Obedience to Gods ways brings blessing. God is willing
and able to open the floodgates of heaven to us.
The Bible says that the natural man cannot know God. It takes the Spirit
of God to know the things of God (1 Corinthians 2:11). If we choose to walk
by the Spirit, we won't satisfy the cravings of our sinful nature. We must
consciously take every thought captive for the cause of Christ so that the
enemy doesn't get a foothold (2 Corinthians 10: 4-5).
We must choose what is set before us each day life or death (Deuteronomy
30:19). I don't know about you, but I want to choose life! When God calls
me, I not only want to be able to hear God calling to me, but I want to answer
Him appropriately, not in dread like Adam, not in complete silence, not by
running away to a far off land like the prodigal son. I want to answer quickly
and affirmatively as I gallop toward the clearing, "Yes, Lord. I see that
I am not where you want me to be, and I am truly sorry. Cleanse me of my wickedness
and put me back on the path of righteousness."
In the open -- that is where I want to be.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within
me (Psalm 51:10).