I kind of checked out of sharing about the Ezekiel study this week.
Partly because I didn’t get to hear the sermon until Monday and also the material is as graphic and rough as the first week was fantastical and other-worldly.
But I would be remiss to skip the more unpleasant aspects of how doing this study with our church family has been working on me.
So welcome to a glimpse into my journal entries from Monday this week.
The passage was Ezekiel 4 and the first question from the study guide asked about an area where God might be calling me to repentance.
I was slightly offended at how little time it took God to help me fill in the answer.
He is God after all and it is His way to be direct with me so here was my fairly immediate response:
Two things come to mind this morning that I have recently been strongly convicted about
1. The “sin of prayerlessness” as Andrew Murray calls it in several of his books
2. The sin of slander
First off: Regarding #1… yes, I lead three prayer teams at our church and yes, you would think I pray all the time.
And while I do pray, the reality is that my prayer life has become weak, powerless and dead of late.
And when I look critically at the reason for this I see clearly the sin of unbelief.
I could blame that on a lot of different things but in the end it comes down to the fact that I have let my doubt become bigger than our God.
As for the sin of slander: for way too long my thoughts and my mouth tend to lean toward words that do not edify or build up but rather take swipes…sometimes out loud… but more often in my inner conversations.
Both are equal in the eyes of God – the seen and heard and the ones buried deep inside of me. He knows the heart and what doesn’t get said matters as much as what does.
When I lay that out for consideration I can see the root of bitterness has fueled this sin.
The next question in the study asked me what it would look like to turn from my sin and turn toward God.
So as I examined my sinful bent and the roots that were behind them, I came up with this;
Acknowledging that my unbelief and bitterness ARE Sin – and thus as disgusting to God as cooking my evening meal over a pile of human excrement
(look up the passage and read Ezekiel 4)….
To OWN this as my own sin and to confess and agree with God that this IS indeed SIN…
and then to ask for forgiveness and to REPENT…
to make every effort to walk away from both of these sins and choose to live in complete contrast to them…that is what is called for in response to the work of God in me through the series we have been looking at the past two Sundays.
And here is the prayer I wrote in conclusion:
Heavenly Father, I am confessing to you how I have let hopelessness and unbelief take precedence over faith and the Hope that is in me through the work of Jesus Christ alone.
I also confess my sin of bitterness and envy and a critical spirit that have found a greater place in my heart than the love I should have in You.
I have not followed Your command to rid myself of doubt, envy, wrath, anger and malice but have let my own pride and sense of self-righteousness to rule my thoughts and words and actions.
I have spoken ill of people to make me feel better about my circumstances.
When I envy others in what they have been given or for what they have accomplished – in Your sight this is the same as if I hoped for them to fail.
This is sinful and as disgusting to you as human excrement.
Father, I confess this has been my heart attitude.
I ask you to forgive me LORD and I know that I am forgiven in Christ – my LORD and Savior.
I do repent but also fear the depth of sin in me – I ask You to help me LORD to turn from this and to choose Your way only. I ask in Jesus’ Name.
The final question was what action steps I can take to show my repentance.
Here are the conclusions I came to after my time in prayer:
<3 Just like the suggestions gleaned from reading “Adorned” by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth; aggressively resist mean, jealous and unloving thoughts when they crop up – GET. RID. OF. THEM.
<3 Pray – start somewhere. Probably for me right now it is best to just open up my Bible and pray directly from Scripture. Ephesians 1 – 3 has always been a good place for me to pray through, so I can start there. Also to use the Scripture prayers provided in several prayer books to get my mind and heart back in the language of prayer.
There are times when we feel God does not hear or answer our prayers because we do not see anything changing in situations that have made us desperate for His involvement.
However; the above prayers are something He very quickly has answered…prayer for conviction of my particular sins…prayer for forgiveness…prayer for repentance…prayer for actions steps I can begin to take and prayer for obedience to follow through.
As I have taken these steps, I have found He has heard and answered with abundant mercy and grace.
No matter how far we move away from Him, the moment we turn back He is already there to meet us and help us.
There is only ONE God, three in One, and He is full of mercy and kindness and grace for all who will return to Him <3