The following article came together out of the conviction of the Holy Spirit within my own life. Although at times I may refer to a condition I see in other believers, it is not at all my intention to set myself apart from anyone else. This is truly one area where none can be set apart from any other. Just the thought that we are free of such an illness ought to reveal to us that we are yet entangled in it.
It is only possible for me to even make mention of such things by the grace that I have received from the Lord to do so. I am well aware of the pride of man that yet smolders within my own heart. It has only been since the first of this year that the Lord has been removing the blinders from my eyes in this area of my soul.
It is certainly the greatest enemy to our walk in the spirit. We’ve blamed the devil, other people and circumstances for our troubles, when, very often, the worst enemy we have is the selfishness and the deceitfulness of our own hearts. The root of all such wickedness is pride.
Pride manifests itself in various ways. Regardless of its manifestation, it is always after the interest of one’s own self.
I am convinced that there is enough pride and rebellion in the nature of fallen man to send himself to hell without any help from Satan. Satan constantly seeks who he may devour by gaining entrance through the lusts and desires of man’s selfishness. This is the dust which he has been given to eat. He works where men seek to save their own lives.
Due to the multitude of spirits that are at work to accompany self-interest, it is often that pride will appear in various forms of godliness, and be readily accepted by those of whom it desires acceptance. The root of it all is pride, and regardless of its outward appearance, it is after recognition and selfishly demands a response from others. The desired response may vary from one individual to the other, depending on what spirits one yields oneself to. However, regardless of the response desired, self cannot be satisfied without recognition from others.
What you are about to read is a statement of repentance. The greatest fool is the one who remains a fool. A wise man is able to recognize his foolishness, but a fool is too proud to admit the truth, even when it is known. The truth of Jesus Christ always reveals the foolishness of man. The love of God can only be manifested in the absence of self.
I am most grateful for the harness of the Lord. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning. Great is the faithfulness of our God. His loving kindness is better than life!
I. THE SEARCHING OF OUR HEARTS
We often ask the Lord to search us, try us, know our hearts and see if there be any wicked way in us. Yet, what do we think about when we pray this way? In such a prayer, it is foolish to believe that the Lord needs to check our hearts because He doesn’t know what is in them (see Hebrews 4:13).
In Genesis 3 and verse 9, the Lord did not ask Adam where he was because he didn’t know or he wasn’t certain. The Lord was not searching frantically to find Adam. It was Adam who was in need.
When Abraham was asked to offer up Isaac, the Lord did not sit back, not knowing what was in Abraham’s heart. He wasn’t fretting over the possibility of Abraham failing to obey His command, and how that might affect the generations to come.
It is in the divine plan of God for a people to cry out to be conformed to the image of His Son. In responding to such a cry, the Lord asks of us to give Him our hearts. Not part of it, but ALL of it. It is not possible for the Lord to answer such a cry without obedience to His call for surrender. Yet, even as we say, “Father, I give you my whole heart,” the Lord is much more aware than we are of the things which we are still holding on to. Nevertheless, if such an offer is given out of a pure desire for the Lord to change us into the image of His Son, the Lord begins to answer our prayer (1st John 5:14-15).
In the process of cleansing and sanctification, we must realize that there is absolutely NO holiness outside of Jesus Christ. There is no overcoming that is done independently of Him or that is of self-effort. Neither can there be any overcoming without death to the self-life, and there is no death to self that is pleasing to the Father that is of our own design. All such self-imposed slaughter of the self-life will always remain outside of Christ; therefore keeping us entangled therein. The only one who can overcome is that same one who already has overcome, and that same Spirit desires to overcome and live His life in us. We must follow Him in submission to His Headship.
This is where the Lord begins to reveal to us the things in our soul life which keep us from a closer walk with Him. This is the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. This is the baptism of fire. This is the pruning Jesus spoke of in John chapter 15, verse 2.
The work of searching, trying and pruning belongs exclusively to the Lord. Most Christians do not understand that such a working is the sole purpose of the gift of the Holy Spirit. Many are far more interested in signs and wonders. Let us not embrace the gifts, and disregard the greatest desire of the Father. He desires us to bear fruit that we might glorify Him (John 15:8).
The Lord is faithful to show us what is asked of us in this conforming process. That is shown to each of us in the command to follow Him day by day.
The command to follow Him demands a response of obedience from us. Having faith in the Lord is seen in our obedience to heed His call to follow after Him (John 15:14, Hebrews 11:8).
So the light of the Holy Spirit searches and tries our hearts to lead us into a deeper and deeper call from the Father to go on in Him (Hebrews 4:12). Our part is to agree with the Lord to rule over every area of our soul life. As He reveals to us our heart each step of the way, He says just as he did to Adam, “Where are you?” It brings no pleasure to the Father for us to make excuses, but to agree with the findings of His great light. This agreement is acknowledged by the confessing of our faults. When we agree with the Lord and repent of our weakness, then its rule over our soul suffers a violent blow. As we surrender again to Him who has already overcome the world, we are conformed even the more to His likeness (James 5:16).