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Here’s One Thing That May Be Stunting Your Spiritual Growth

Woman Praying

I’ve often said in jest, but somewhat seriously also, that one of the blessings of getting older is your vision starts to go.

Now you might think that an odd thing to think, but in many ways not being able to see all those wrinkles daily taking over your face, is a blessing. That is, until you get your hands on a magnifying mirror and “Wowzer!” The reality that time has passed—years, maybe even millennia—is clearly evident. But you know, I would rather have a clear picture of what I look like—wrinkles and all—than run around thinking I look pretty good when, actually, broccoli has taken up temporary residence between my two front teeth.

And I feel that way about my heart also.

About five years ago, I was waking up with such a feeling of anxiety and dread—such heaviness upon my heart that it was almost unbearable. One morning when reading in the Psalms, I came across verses 23 and 24 in chapter 139.

It says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”

There it is. Did you see it?

“Know my anxious thoughts.”

Lying there I thought, “Oh, good. I’ll pray this, and God will free me from this heartache, this anchor.” And He has… and is… and does, but the process can be hard.

If you look at the very next verse, it says, “Point out anything in me that offends you.”

The reality that there were/are things in my heart that offend God hit me hard, scared me to death, and got my attention. You see, I’m a Christian who wandered away from the Lord and in my wandering lived as if I weren’t a believer, making bad choices daily, thus piercing my heart with many sorrows. (See 1 Timothy 6:10.)

When I first came back to the Lord many years ago, I tried to fix myself. If I had a mean thought, I would shove it down deeper into my heart, hoping it would go away. If I had a bad motive, I would try to change it and make it a good one. But when I prayed those two verses from Psalm 139, the Lord began to show me what I needed to do was to let Jesus take care of my heart condition. Practically and specifically, that meant confession.

Every time the Lord would show me my true reaction or my true thought—and most of the time, it was not Godly—what I learned was I needed to confess it. God would take care of the change that needed to happen inside me. (See 1 John 1:9 and Philippians 2:13.)

Now, you might be saying, “Wait a minute. I thought when you became a Christian, Jesus took away all your sins.” And yes, you would be right.

But when I was away from the Lord, I invited, by the way I was living, a ton of garbage back into my heart. Jesus, when washing the disciples feet, in answer to Peter said, “A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet, to be entirely clean. And you disciples are clean, …” (See John 13:10.) For me, because I am a Christian, I too, was clean. But my feet, filthy beyond filthy were caked in cement. I had such hardness of heart that was so shameful; it was by the grace of the Lord I was able to confess even that.

The good news is all this leads to the last verse, “and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”

I can honestly tell you the anxiety in my heart has greatly diminished, but when it’s there, I ask the Lord to show me what it is. And He does. Sometimes it’s to pray for another person and other times to bring dross up to the surface that’s buried within my heart—never to condemn but to sanctify me. He is faithful and will continue to wash my feet until I cross the threshold of Heaven. Jesus in me is my only hope of glory. (See Colossians 1:27.)

If you don’t know Jesus, I invite you to taste and see that the Lord is good. Ask Him into your heart.

And if you know Him but have wandered away, even far away, He is there. Call on Him. And if you can’t do that, confess that too. He will rescue you from even that deepest pit.

Jesus desires honesty in the inward parts (Psalm 51:6), and when He shows you what is hidden deep within, and you say, “Yes, that’s there too; Lord, please forgive me.”

He will.

He will pick you up, wash your feet, restoring you—instructing and teaching you once again how to walk as a Christian. You will then begin to experience His peace that only He can give, healing your anxious heart.

Are you letting him search you? Once you see the mess, that’s when God can wash it clean. 

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