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CHRISTIAN WALK

Christian, Where Are You?

By Laura Bagby
CBN.com Producer


CBN.comDo 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 too much.

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 days.

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 don’t make an effort to reign in the flesh and instead follow vigilantly after the things of God, then sin can creep in and we don’t 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 God’s blessings in our lives.

It isn’t God’s 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 don’t 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 don’t 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 didn’t 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 God’s 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 God’s 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).

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