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
The 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
It 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
Your 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.
“…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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