This has been God’s M.O. in my life:

  • Reveal his will
  • Show where I fall short
  • Bring me to repentance
  • Bring me more in line with his Word

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.

God can do this “searching”, “testing”, and “knowing” a number of different ways.

  • Revelation through the Word
  • Creating an environment that shows what is in my heart and mind
  • The Holy Spirit through my conscience

Truthfully, God almost always uses these different elements together…at least in my life.

First, the will of God must be revealed to me. This can happen in a number of different ways: creation (Rom 1:20), instruction (Ex 18:20, Deut 4:9), scripture (2 Tim 3:16), and so on.

Next, God will show me where I don’t line up with his will. At his discretion, he may do this in at least a couple of ways.

  1. Revelation as I read, study, or hear the word

    Acts 2:37-41
    When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord our God will call.” With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

  2. Life circumstances

    James 1:2-4
    Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

How often do we pray the “search me” prayer from the Psalms and then rail against God as he does just what we’ve been asking?

How quickly do we forget that it is God’s kindness that brings us to repentance (Romans 2:4)? Or by corollary, anything that brings us to repentance, regardless of how it “feels” or “seems” is actually God’s kindness?

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.

Finally, God, in his mercy, brings us to repentance and, in doing so, changes us into the kind of people he would like for us to be. As we learn, see, remember, and take to heart the teaching of God, we are changed.

2 Corinthians 3:18
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

James 1:19-27
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does.

These ideas, “glory to glory” and “continues in it”, imply a process in which we have a part and through which God transforms according to his will through the power of the Word.

Do I really have a part in this? If so, what is my part?
Tune in next time…

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