Yesterday I began sharing with you one of the most significant times of growth in my life. It effected my marriage in a powerful way, and my prayer is my testimony will help others who may struggle with similar besetting sins. If you didn’t read it, please take a moment or today’s post won’t make as much sense.
Two weeks later my month was completed, and I attempted to record in my journal all that I had heard God speak to me over the past few weeks. He asked me to make a list looking over my life of evidences of pride. Some of them were things I had never told anyone, and there was a reason for that! I would be embarrassed for anyone to know about those thoughts and temptations. The Lord told me when I finished my list that he wanted me to share all of this with Tom. My response: Ew!!! I really don’t want to do that! What would he think of me? The Lord reminded me that I had been asking Him to help me mortify my pride. Suddenly, I wasn’t so eager to do this, because I realized that mortifying pride also meant being mortified myself! BUT at the same time God was changing my heart, and I knew now that this was an issue of obedience. I couldn’t say “no” to confessing my pride to Tom and expect to move on with the Lord. He wouldn’t allow it, because He loves me and is committed to completing the work He’s begun in me.
In my prideful heart I wanted to focus on the word “complete,” when God was focusing on the word “work.” There was definitely a lot of work to be done in my heart. The more I saw of my pride, the more I saw of my pride!! That is not a redundant statement, but full of truth.
Here’s a short list of things I confessed to Tom:
- I have seen that I have a craving to receive recognition and to have a good reputation – for my glory – not God’s.
- I arrogantly believe that strangers notice me in a crowd.
- I love attention.
- I love being in control of my family, of projects, of my time–this list is endless!
- I often make myself the standard in judging others by what they do or don’t do.
- Even when I worship there are many times I’m more focused on how I look to others, rather than to God.
- I hate receiving correction, but I desire to look good to others. Although it may seem I have received someone’s input well, what’s going on in my heart is a stench to God.
How could I have lived so long and not seen all this? “You have not because you do not ask!” Wow, I had never really asked God to show me my pride and waited long enough for him to show me. He was faithfully answering the prayers I had prayed.
Everywhere I looked I saw pride, and I’m not exaggerating.
Then, the Lord gave me this word picture:
I saw a secret garden that was overgrown with vines. Underneath was a tiny plant that was being choked out by the vine. I saw the gate open and others were invited in to help pull up the vines by their roots so that the little flower could begin to grow strong.
This secret garden represented my heart. I had secretly allowed prideful thoughts to grow, unchecked and unexposed. The Lord opened the gate and bid me to invite others in to help me in pulling up the vines of pride; for they see things I would never see on my own. And I can confess things that are in my heart that they would never see otherwise, another way to mortify the roots of pride. Doing this will allow the little plant of humility to take root in my heart.
The most important key for me is confessing my sin. I have always heard the verse in 1 John 1 that says:
“8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
As I committed to confess my pride whenever I saw it, not only to God, but to those to whom I’m accountable, I had the assurance that God would forgive me of my sin, and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. This gave me hope that I could make progress against this sin that had entangled my heart. I was weak, but He was strong. These are all truths found in God’s word that I know by heart, but suddenly they made much more sense. I had fresh revelation that was giving me the grace I needed to say “No” to pride and pursue humility.
However, I had no idea that pride was rooted even deeper in my heart than I had seen. More about that tomorrow!
What sin/sins are you battling of which your spouse is unaware? Do you realize confession is a key component to forgiveness and freedom? What has kept you from inviting others into your secret garden?