Sometimes God just uses mental images to get me to thinking. He doesn’t always have to speak directly to my heart in the typical way, but He always gets His point across. This Abacus-style image was coming to mind and I had to write about it.
This is what was coming to my mind:
At first, we are entirely focused on Jesus, with no room for the temptation of sin. That’s not to say that we are perfect, but that we immediately call upon Jesus to rid us of the thoughts as soon as they threaten to invade our thinking.
Then, sin creeps in out of nowhere, and because we are enticed by the temporary gratification it seems to bring, we submit to it–and we think it’s only going to be for a temporary timeframe.
“Just this time. Just for a few minutes, just for a few hours/days/weeks..” Etc
The next thing we know, we are still focused on Jesus, or at least we think we are, but sin is starting to take a more prominent spot in our minds and hearts.
Before long, if sin is not rooted out, it becomes a prominent fixture in our thinking, and our hearts, and invades every area of our lives.
(At this point, we try to portray that we are still focused on Jesus–but people who see us and interact with us on a regular basis can tell that we are not being truthful. They see it before we even do. All we are doing is heaping sin on top of sin–lying to cover up our drifting. We are so busy trying to keep up our image in Christ that we don’t even recognize how dark our light has become.)
But we know that our hearts are not in the same spot at they once were–that beginning place where we were once so in love and on fire for Him.
At this point, because the fire in our hearts has gotten cool, and our wicks are barely left smoldering for Jesus, we don’t find the satisfaction and gratification that we once did in Jesus–
(and only Jesus–and nothing but Jesus…)
It’s then that we stop focusing on Jesus altogether–Jesus isn’t even a part of our thought process in the day to day life.
By this stage, we somehow have outsourced all the gratification and satisfaction of our hearts—to ourselves. We think that we must find something, or someone, to satisfy us.
‘Because Jesus is no longer completing us’, we might have a tendency to think.
Or, ‘it will take too much effort on our part to get back to the place where we once used to be–where all we could think about was our first True Love.’
Or, ‘He doesn’t want us anymore.’
Or, ‘He and I will never be close again, I’ve drifted too far for Him to use me anymore.’
We can go for seconds, or minutes, or even years in this phase.
But when this happens, the Holy Spirit grieves, and eventually we stop to understand that is why our lives are miserable, why our hearts are breaking.
The Spirit prompts us that we need to recenter ourselves on Jesus. We know that we need to let go of all things that have set themselves up against the knowledge of God. All we have to do is call on Jesus’ name and allow Him to come back in and take up His rightful place in our hearts.
We don’t have to stay in rebellion. We don’t have to wallow in the pigs feed. We can come back to our Father and He will purge us with the shed blood of His Son Jesus, who washes our crimson stains white as snow–no matter how far we drifted.
It’s not an effort on our part. In fact, it’s the opposite of effort. It’s letting go of our pretenses and falling at His feet once again, releasing everything in our grasp into His capable hands.
And when we submit to Him, He takes up residence in our hearts once again, purging the evil from the depths of our hearts (Not that He ever left, but we closed our ears and heart to His voice when we allowed sin to come in and spread like gangrene.)
Jesus helps us overcome the temptations that have threatened to take us captive once again.
Jesus helps us to recenter ourselves in Him and His Sovereign Grace once again.
Jesus purges from the depths of our hearts, minds, and bodies the evil to which we had opened wide the door. The same evil that we couldn’t figure out how to get rid of ourselves–(and we couldn’t shut the door on, as long as the evil was trapped inside with us.)
Defeat the lie:
It’s not hard for us to call out to Jesus. All we have to do is say His name. All we have to do is draw near to Him, and He will draw near to us. It’s not an effort on our part to get back to Him. All we have to do is desire that closeness to Him once again, from the depths of our hearts.
Get back on track:
1) Recognize that we have lost our First True Love– not that He lost us, but that we have allowed things, even people, to take the place of Him in our hearts.
2) Stop mid-stream of the sin we are caught up in.
3) Call out the name of Jesus.
4) Repent of the fact that we have fashioned idols and have begun looking to them for our source of comfort and affirmation.
5) Submit to every change He wants to make within us.
6) Allow Him to work
7) Watch and be amazed at the transformation taking place in our hearts.