The movers arrived on Thursday. They brought all the boxes into our house. Now, every box must be opened and a determination must be made about the contents. When you have amassed a lifetime of items and memories, moving makes for long days and late evenings. The goal is to have everything in every box appropriately set.
As we were putting the finishing touches on my study, we discovered one more box. “What’s in that box?” At this stage of the game, I’m thinking I don’t want to know what is in that box and I really don’t want to deal with its contents. However, it must be opened and I must make appropriate determination of its contents.
As I unpacked the box, a spiritual analogy pops in my brain. If you will be so kind, follow my thinking.
One of the passions of my heart is for a spiritual awakening to sweep our lives and our churches. No one can make such a movement occur except for the Lord Himself. The faith activity I am to do is to position my life so the Lord is welcomed to move in a dynamic fashion through my life and my church. The result is, I possess my birthright as a believer and I’m endowed by His Spirit to genuinely love others in His name.
The way to position my life for such an awakening is by humble confession—to lay bare my innermost before Him (1 John 1). My heart must be clean and vulnerable before the Lord. As I pray, I ask the Lord to search my heart for areas, attitudes and actions that are not congruent with His purposes for my life. The Lord reveals the unconfessed impediments in my relationship with Him.
Back to the box analogy.
Even in my attempt to be clean before the Lord, there are those moments, while praying, that the Holy Spirit has spoken to my heart and said, “What’s this box?”
My immediate response is denial, “What box?”
If I won’t leave the prayer closet until wholeness comes, the Spirit of the Lord patiently prompts me to be honest with Him and myself. He then lets me take a fresh look at the box, “Oh, this box. Let’s see, it is marked spiritual pride and it seems that its destination is self-righteousness.” Or maybe it is marked “inattentive,” “indifference” or “hurtful words.”
“Lord, you really don’t want me to unpack that box [of iniquity]. Let’s just leave it. I can handle it another day.” But such thinking won’t let me taste of the fullness of His fellowship.
I desperately need Him. My church desperately needs the fresh touch of His Spirit. If our self-efforts were sufficient, we have planned, promoted, and programed enough to win the whole world for Christ. Instead, this life we call the “Christian life” must be lived from the inside out—from the context of holiness. And holiness cannot exist without a pure heart.
The tragedy is that far too often we don’t take this issue seriously and we stack boxes inside lives. If we are brutally honest with ourselves, we find that the corridors of our lives are lined with boxes of iniquity that need to be unpacked. Our sin needs to be confessed. It’s time we experienced what it feels like to be spiritually clean once again.
Can we even begin to imagine the results of an inner life in full restoration with the Lord? How would that impact our marriages and our families? Instead of hoarding a box of indifference or resentment, think about the impact God would make with our lives among the vast sea of lostness in our communities and our state.
A wonderful lady by the name of Miss Bertha Smith was a Southern Baptist missionary in China. She was there when an atmospheric movement of God broke out in her province. She taught that God moved because of the clean vessels (Christians) who hungered for holiness more than they hoarded the uncleanliness in their lives.
Would God awaken His people in this generation? I pray so. I trust you share such a vision with me. To be His vessels, we must begin with humbled confession of our sin. We must have a willing heart to unpack the boxes that we’ve hoarded and protected. When we do, we have the greatest possibility for God to move in power.
There are helpful resources for this process at www.mbc.org/awakening.
JOHN YEATS / MBC Executive Director