Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Going Through The Motions

                Last week I had coffee with a sister in the Lord, we talked and laughed and caught up since we hadn’t seen each other in a while. As always, our conversation turned to the Lord Jesus and what He was doing in our lives. As we talked, she asked me a question that has been on my heart ever since. She asked, “Do you find that there is not much genuineness in the church today?” At first I didn’t quite understand what she meant, but as she expounded, I understood her meaning, and I have to say that I too am struggling with seeing a genuine faith in many of the Christians I meet today. Everyone puts on a good face, a loving hug and a nice prayer once in awhile, but the genuineness is lacking. Sometimes it looks like we are just going through the motions.

                Yesterday, I had a conversation with another sister in the Lord and she too agreed that the genuineness of Christianity is becoming less and less, but she stated, perhaps we should be the example. This got me to thinking and this led me to pray a prayer I haven’t prayed in a while. Perhaps I am not as sincere and genuine as I thought I was either. Perhaps the Lord God is calling us to be the example others need to see and to wake us up from going through the motions into a true genuine desire for Him.
                “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxieties. And see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24
                The Psalmist writes previously about the all present, all knowing, all powerful God whom he loves, who sees Him, who knows the depths of His being. Then the Psalmist cries out for the Lord God to search him, to try him and to know him. He shows a genuine desire to know God and to be known of God in the most sincere of ways. He asks the Lord God to reveal his heart to him. One commentary states that the Psalmist “invites God into his heart”. He is willing and ready to submit to the One True God to examine his heart, his mind, his will, his emotions and his thoughts. How many of us can say that we too desire this same sort of scrutiny?
                To search means to examine, to investigate and to be found out. Our hearts are deceitful, and they can lead us down paths that are away from God. I once heard a Pastor say that “if you think you are doing well, think again, most likely you are being deceived.” A true heart that desires a genuine and sincere walk with the Lord Jesus will cry out for the God of the universe to search him, to investigate the very depths of his being. This heart will also desire a deeper understanding of itself. It seeks to grow and to become more of Christ and less of self. There is no opportunity for fake love, for fake compassion, for plastered smiles and friendly handshakes; this heart seeks truth in itself and truth before God.

                The Psalmist goes on to pray that God would know his heart. That God would find out and discover if there is anything in him that is not genuine, that is not sincere. He asks God to search and to know the innermost being of his heart, for only God is able to judge our hearts, for He alone knows our hearts better than we do. God alone knows us as we are, and understands our true thoughts and motives. Who better to search us for genuineness and sincerity than the One who created you and formed you in the depths of your mother’s womb?
                Perhaps the reason we do not ask the Lord God to search us and to know us is because we are fearful that He may actual show us that we are not who we think we are, that we are not who we say we are. Perhaps we will discover that we have just been going through the motions and there is no sincere and genuine desire for Him after all. Perhaps we are afraid that He will uncover sins that we are not ready to face. But a Christian who desires to live for God, to live a holy life, a life worthy of Jesus Christ must also be willing to submit to the examination of the Lord God. The question we have to ask ourselves is, “Are we willing to be sincere and genuine Christians?”

                When God starts His examination of our hearts, we are going to find trials and troubles come upon us. I wrote a few days ago about the refining fire of the Lord and how He uses this fire to burn from us any impurities. When you read the Psalmists words, he is asking the Lord to put him in the fire and to burn him up. He asks the Lord to “try” him, and not just his outward actions, but he asks the Lord God to put him in the fire and burn through his thoughts, what he thinks about, what his motives and purposes are, what thoughts pass through his mind and heart, what occupies his imagination and memory, and he asks the Lord to find out what secures his affections and his will. He does not ask the Lord to just search and examine, he asks the Lord to make him pure, genuine, and sincere.

                Barnes Notes on the Bible states that “he must be a very sincere man who prays that God will search his thoughts, for there are few who would be willing that their fellow man, even their best friends, should know all that they are thinking about.” We desire to be genuine, to be sincere in our devotion towards God, yet we are unwilling to let God into the very depths of our beings and show us what is truly there. What is God going to discover that He is not already aware of? He is not going to be shocked, for He already knows what is hidden, what we have buried and He loves you in spite of it all.  
                Perhaps the fake love that my sister has experienced would not be so present within the churches today if we were willing to allow the Jehovah God into the depths of our hearts and search us out. For me, seeking to live a life that is fully dedicated and fully submitted to God means that I too must be sincere in my walk and ask the Lord God to search me, to know me and to try me. Maybe more of us would struggle less in our walks if we would submit ourselves to the examination of the Lord God. God will not go where He is not wanted, and if there are areas of your life that you have not given to Him, He will not trespass. But do we want to only live half-way for God, going through the motions of Christianity, or do we seek a deeper, more intimate knowledge of His presence in our lives?
                True Christianity is a willingness to submit to the scrutiny of the Lord God in every area of our lives. We can put on a smile, give a hug and go through all the motions, but let us not deceive ourselves and think that this is enough, let us pray today and ask the Lord God to search us, to know us, and to try us and if there is any wicked way in us (which there most likely is) that we would allow Him to burn it out of us, to place us into the caldron of His fiery will and skim the impurities from our hearts. Through this process we will be able to walk in the way of righteousness, being led by the One True God who desires for us to be sincere and genuine towards Him. May God show us the impurities of our hearts and bring us back to a place of genuine and sincere love for Him. To God be the glory, amen and amen.