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There are four experiences in your heart that at first seem quite unfriendly. But watch out! You don’t want to reject the work of the Holy Spirit. If you’re aware of the possibility of experiencing these heart-level happenings, and recognize them for what they really are—the Holy Spirit’s work in you—they will work for you instead of against you.

Unfriendly Experience #1
Deep Sense of Hearing the Truth and Being Convicted

IMG_6545The conscience knows when it is hearing the truth. In Romans, Paul refers to the Gentiles who were not even brought up in the Law, but by their own God-given conscience were able to give attention to what is right and good, proving the Law is written on the hearts of men:

“They show that the essential requirements of the Law are written in their hearts and are operating there, with which their consciences (sense of right and wrong) also bear witness; and their [moral] decisions (their arguments of reason, their condemning or approving thoughts) will accuse or perhaps defend and excuse [them].” —Romans 2:15 TAB

Hearing the truth about how to live right doesn’t usually make someone uncomfortable. Quite the contrary, people are usually gung ho when it comes to stepping up their appearance of righteousness.

But hearing the truth about something personal and relational that you did wrong is usually an uncomfortable experience. Conviction of wrong doing can make you feel uneasy, embarrassed, and even sickened and sobered.

These feelings don’t seem friendly and so the temptation is to avoid them, brush them off, or excuse them. Don’t! The Holy Spirit is being merciful to show you something so He can help you get free from the destructive forces of the flesh. He wants to bring you into His love.

Unfriendly Experience #2
Exposure of Shortcomings

Perhaps you’ve come to notice the difference between what you’re currently experiencing in how you relate with your family, and how your behaviors measure up against the standard of God’s love. Exposure of shortcomings can benefit you so much when you recognize that God Himself is the one showing you so He can help you toward a higher mark. If your spouse has reached a higher mark than you have, choose to weather your shortcoming in humility, allowing God to bring you to His higher mark for you.

Unfriendly Experience #3
The Desire to Hide

IMG_6499It is natural to want to run and hide from the truth about sin when truth is penetrating your life at the heart level. God is exposing your heart (circumcision) and wanting you to run to Him and hide in Him instead of hiding from Him. This is His mercy on your life to show you what your heart has been all about, so you will want His help.

When you want to hide out, He is showing you the false identity you formed while separated from Him. He wants to help you out of the stuck places of your flesh identity, and bring you into your true identity in Christ as His child. Go to Him. Confess the truth He is showing you. Agree with Him. He will comfort you.

Unfriendly Experience #4
Struggle & Conflict of Interests

As soon as you decide to yield more of your personal life to God, you begin to experience an internal battle between the flesh and the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is now at work to help you to put to death the deeds of your flesh, and your flesh simply doesn’t like it.

“Walk and live [habitually] in the Holy Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God)… …For the desires of the flesh are opposed to the [Holy] Spirit, and the [desires of the] Spirit are opposed to the flesh (godless human nature); for these are antagonistic to each other [continually withstanding and in conflict with each other], so that you are not free but are prevented from doing what you desire to do. But if you are guided (led) by the [Holy] Spirit, you are not subject to the Law.”—Galatians 5:16-18 TAB

IMG_6512Your flesh fights to maintain control even while your heart desires for the work of God in your heart. While engaged in this struggle, it’s easy to believe lies from the enemy, but just remember the holiness God is after in you through: surrender, letting go of control, and acceptance of His work in your heart. He has so much more life and love for you!

The Enemy’s Lies

It’s easy to assume that you should reject these seemingly unfriendly happenings when you at first experience them. The enemy will do all he can to convince you that you’re good enough. The enemy will lie, and you will be sorely tempted to not believe the truth when experiencing these four happenings in your heart.

You need to be vigilant, because the enemy seeks to dissuade you from the cross and from experiencing God’s love and your true identity in Christ.

Be Vigilant

“…Work out (cultivate, carry out to the goal, and fully complete) your own salvation with reverence and awe and trembling (self-distrust, with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ). [Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.”—Philippians 2:12-13 TAB

Dear Heart, Have you ever assumed that God’s heart-level work in you is supposed to feel good? Did you know that you absolutely will battle internal resistance and opposition to the work of the Holy Spirit when on a path of true spiritual growth? Please let me know in the comments below what you’re learning about these 4 experiences.

God bless you as you journey toward more of Christ’s heartbeat in your life.

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[Compliments of my friend, Michelle Gephart!]

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10 Responses to 4 Unfriendly Experiences of Your Heart

  1. Betsy says:

    Understanding these thoughts and feelings has helped me so much Marilyn. When I fall short it is so easy to get discouraged, but I’m beginning to stop sooner and thank the Lord that He is working in my life and revealing my lack of love. This changes my attitude right away to one of hope. Then I am able to stop doing the ‘woe is me’ and ask Him for the next thing to do or say, if need be. Practicing this pattern is becoming regular for me.

    • I’m rejoicing with you Betsy for these regular habits forming in you! Obeying the Holy Spirit’s promptings as you stop and listen to Him really does change attitudes right quick! As your habit becomes more and more regular and you’re adding more new actions to that one, you will be amazed at what a big deal work God is accomplishing in you! Hugs to you, dear heart! ~ Marilyn

  2. Nancy Blanchard says:

    Wow Marilyn, I really related to everything you wrote in this post. I relate to hearing the truths that you and Barbie spoke in those early Moms Day Out events along with other events and hearing those truths were invigorating, maybe because it’s what I had been on the search for all the years before. I think I finally felt at home in some ways, but as those truths began to expose me it was very uncomfortable and miserable. Sometimes I wallowed in that misery and felt paralyzed and other times I would push through here and there… but then a wonderful thing happened and I remembered in the moment what I had heard so many times from you and Barbie and instead of wallowing in feeling miserable I felt the Lord remind me that the thing to do was to thank Him and I did. Immediately I felt the misery melt away.

    I love your expression of “God is exposing your heart (cicumcision) and wanting you to run to Him and hide in Him instead of hiding from Him.” That is so good and, as I look back, I realize that is what I learned to do… to press in with Him and hide in Him. That is what I can see I have been doing and need to continue to do in my process with Him as He is currently showing me so much of my false identity and He is wanting to help me get unstuck.

    With all this said, I laughed when I read your question, “Have you ever assumed that God’s heart-level work in you is suppose to feel good?” I laughed because I think that is what I use to think – but didn’t know I thought it… what a funny notion. I did not know that I would battle internal resistance and opposition to the work of the Holy Spirit, but I sure know it now and I am so grateful to be in the position of being eager for the pressing through the resistance and opposition of my flesh and of the enemy. I feel spiritually stronger than ever before to be on this journey and press through… and I, no doubt, have more strength to build up for what is to come.

    I really enjoyed reading this post as it was something I could relate to my own experiences of my journey.

    • Thank you Nancy for taking the time to share so much with us! I have loved to hear your process over the years; you’ve grown so much! And yes, in emotional strength too! It’s been noticeable all around and I know the Good Lord is having His way with you, sweetie! It’s so true that you can feel at home in hard truths simply because the heart and soul need the correction so badly. So in a way it’s balm to the soul even though you can still feel a bit miserable in it too. But turning it all toward gratefulness is the power for true change.

      I fear that many Christians haven’t considered the implications of the cross for personal salvation and sanctification. There are so so many ‘feel good’ messages out there, but the only real way to feel good is to have deeply abiding peace in our hearts that comes with being right with God.

      Thank you for taking time today to enter the conversation with me, Nancy! Love and hugs to you, friend! ~ Marilyn

  3. April Monelo says:

    I really am right here in my process! But I am actually feeling gratefulness and a desire for exposure. I relate with the uncomfortable feeling, but it isn’t so scary because being in the light is so much more enjoyable. I’d rather be exposed than stay in the muck. This post was so reassuring and encouraging. Just what I needed to hear today as I just repented of something yesterday!

    • Thank you so much for sharing April! I love to hear that! It’s so true that being in the truth and in light is so much more reassuring, even when being dealt with by the Lord, than to be miserable in sin. I’m encouraged to that the hard parts of the Gospel message can be reassuring and encouraging to you and the other families. Love and hugs April! ~ Marilyn

  4. April Monelo says:

    Enjoying “chewing on these verses today”…

  5. Jeri says:

    Thank you Marilyn for these truths. This and your new audio out today, resonate so much of the enemy wanting to give me lies and untruths about myself. And the only way to get rid of the tried and true flesh that I so easily agree with is to lay it down, and never pick it up again. I see so many places that need this laying down, and I just need to “stop it” and be done with it. My prayer is that I cooperate with the Holy Spirit in choosing to lay my flesh down, and not pick it up again, which seems so easy to do. Bless you in your ministry. It really is a balm to my soul.

  6. Michelle G says:

    I love this, Marilyn! It totally puts it all into words!! How helpful!

    Yes, I have experienced all these things! I’m always reminded how my flesh is actively trying to keep me from God’s Love and how I must recognize it for what it is! Self-motivated, lying, persistent force working against my heart’s desire to surrender all, it’s gotta go!

    Thank you for the audio in the Facebook group, it goes right along with this. Can’t wait for the next post!

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