April 26th, 2020

Strategy 7: Your Purity (Fervent Bible Study Blog #8)

I met my sweet friend Melanie years ago at my favorite writers’ conference. Last year we took a walk in the redwoods as we shared our frustrations with life as well as our dreams.  I believe that was the moment that God bonded our hearts together. I should have seen her a few weeks ago, but thanks to covid-19, Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference was canceled. So, I asked her if we could talk on the phone. Instantly I was reminded why I love her so. I was excited when she said she wanted to do this study and when she emailed me a few days ago offered to take care of a blog for me, well, the Holy Spirit whispered, “Let her tell her story.”

You are in for a treat, my friend.  Take it away, Melanie.

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“God, you know I’m not going to do what you tell me to. I can’t. I’m tired of trying to make myself do what you say – especially when I just plain don’t want to.”

This was part of my conversation (or more accurately, rant) with God as I sat and read the chapter on “Your Purity,” Friday. I had been dreading this chapter. I know there are some things I don’t have right in my life. And try as I might, I cannot make myself change them. Everything within me justifies them, rationalizes them, and I tell myself, “If God wanted me to behave differently, He shouldn’t have put me in this situation,” or, “Anyone else in my place would do the same.”

For years, I have tried. I have tried to do better, be better, walk more righteously, be more deserving of God’s hand in my life. And frankly, I have failed. Miserably.

Why does He keep asking me to do things He knows I can’t do? Didn’t He say He wouldn’t allow us to be tempted beyond what we could bear? Did He not see how weak I have been? How exhausted I am? How weary I am of trying to walk the straight and narrow, and how ripe I was for a major fall, given the very smallest push?

I wrestled with God over these questions. I begged Him for answers. I told Him straight up that I was not going to do what He said, and that He and I both knew it. So really, I didn’t see the point of this chapter. It was a waste of time – just another chapter in a book to pile more guilt and shame on my already heavy heart, leaving me feeling like a failure yet again.

I finished reading the chapter and uttered one last, weak prayer:

“God, I don’t want to obey You. I really don’t. But – I want to want to obey You. I know You don’t need my permission for anything, but here and now, I am giving You permission – I am granting You full access, begging You, please – give me the desire to obey You. Break my stubborn will. Bring me under full submission to whatever You want me to do. Please, align my will with Yours. I just can’t do it. But I believe that You can.”

And that was it. I finished reading the chapter, and still angry at feeling completely unable to really pray, I got up, picked up my things, and began to leave the room. And as I did…

A righteous, holy anger came over me, and I began to tremble. I had had it. I opened my mouth and told the enemy he was a liar and ordered him out. I began pacing around the room, my Bible still held tight to my chest, yelling at him, telling him to GET. OUT. Get out of my house, get out of my home, get out of my marriage, get out of my children’s rooms, my kitchen, my living room, my dining-room, my marriage, my car – girl, I went down the whole list. And the more I went on, the angrier I became. I proclaimed loudly that he had no business messing with a child of the most High God – no authority in a life and home covered by the blood of Jesus. And before I knew it, I was speaking in a language I did not know.

And though I did not understand the language, I understood this – the Lord Himself was rebuking my enemy and his minions and sending them running for the hills. The Holy Spirit was interceding for me, speaking truth over me, delivering me from the hand of my enemy. I have never in my life felt such power and authority coursing through my being. Truth was flooding my mind and washing over me like fresh rain, chains were breaking inside of me – I was literally being set free.

I’m not sure how long this went on, but it was a good long while. By the time I finished, I wasn’t really even finished – just exhausted. I found myself sitting in the middle of the floor, breathing deeply, the weight gone, knowing full well that I had just been met by the Spirit of the living God Himself.

I had given Him permission. I had asked for His help where I had no strength. I had asked Him to combat the lies of the enemy with His truth. And He answered. When the enemy once again whispered on the way out that door that God was done with me – that He wasn’t listening because I am a sinner – I recognized that voice. I knew it was a lie. And this time – this time, I wasn’t having it.

My grandmother said something to me a few weeks ago that stopped me in my tracks.

“Melanie, you have always tried to carry yourself. Honey, you can’t.”

And as the weeks went by, God began to stir in me these truths:

I am your source of strength.

I am your provider.

I am your righteousness.

I am fighting your battles.

And as the days of this study on strategic prayer have gone by, He has begun to fill me with His strength. He has shown me His provision. His righteousness has become my righteousness.

And He is fighting for me.

All I need do is stand still and see the salvation of the Lord – watch as He vanquishes my enemy, even in the arena of my own choices – in bending and breaking my own stubborn will until it lines up with His.

Yes, I am a stubborn child. I am willful. I am going to do what I am going to do. But my God is bigger. He is bigger than my will. He is bigger than my stubbornness. And His truth is louder than the enemy’s lies.

I am reminded of a prayer I once prayed, knowing my propensity to do things my own way:

“God, please take me wherever You want me – even if You have to drag me kicking and screaming.”

Y’all, be careful what you pray for. Because He will answer.

Post by: Melanie Treadway
For additional reading and encouragement, visit Melanie’s blog Journey to Beautiful or follow her on Facebook.

 

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