Christian, Where Are You?
By Laura J. 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 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 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
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
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
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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