In the last devotion we looked at what it means to be “raw”. As I think and pray about this in my own life I can’t help but feel like God is telling me that not only should we expect and except these times but also realize that He uses these times for our good if we let Him.
The brokenness, conviction, vulnerability, and general uncovered reality of being raw is a state of being where God can work in us the most. Just like many people have to reach a low point in their lives before turning to and accepting Christ as their Savior and Lord I believe that we are the most easily moulded when we come to God raw and give Him ourselves so that He can work in our lives. He wants to heal us and to make us into the vessels and into the image of Christ. (Romans 8:28-29) He even tells us that we are going to endure suffering and trials to purify us and to give us endurance if we allow them to but, we have to be willing to stay the course. (James 1:2-4) (Romans 5:1-5)
No doubt the general tendency when we experience times of brokenness through suffering and pain there is a temptation to hide behind our shell, put on a mask of peace, contentment, and joy and to go about our way like nothing is wrong. When I do this I block out not only my surroundings and all of the things that remind me of my pain but my defenses also effectively shut God out to an extent as well.
Yet, it is when I run to Him, seek Him, and lean in to Him in my “raw” state that God is free to mould me, purify me, test me, and focus me onto His plans for my life. It is during these times that if I allow it to, my rawness allows God to center me on Himself and that I realize that He is all that I have, He is the source of my provision, that not even the flesh that my spirit occupies is my own, and that I belong to Him and Him alone.
(Hebrews 12:1-2) tells us to lay aside every weight [throw off all that hinders] AND the sin that entangles us. I find that “and” to be interesting and befitting of this conversation. One of my commentaries mentions the “pride of life” and other “harmless and otherwise useful things” that would slow us down.
I think that it is also important to remember that God the Holy Spirit is the one who was sent to us by Christ (John 14:15-31). Again, it has been my personal experience that when I put on my shell of defensiveness and pride and cover up my real “raw” self it’s harder to listen for His guidance because in essence I’m pretending to be someone else. It is only when I come before God open and in my vulnerable “raw” state that I am free to hear His voice and that I am open to His call. The more I listen and seek Him the more I understand what it means to grieve and/or quench the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19) (Ephesians 4:30) (1Corinthians 2:14).
Again, we must expect times of hardship, times of suffering, times of persecution and oppression in our lives. These times are painful but if we’re to grow and allow ourselves to be made into the image of Christ and to live out the plans that He has for our lives I feel that we must acknowledge an meet Him in our raw state giving ourselves and our pain over to the God that created us and sent us a way to be saved from our sin.
(John 15:2-6) tells us that every branch that bears fruit He prunes away. That pruning involves things in our lives that aren’t of Him being cut off. Should we expect that during those times we will be totally at peace and joyful? I don’t know about you but in my experience being cut involves pain.
The question is will you seek Him, come to Him as You are, and allow His work in Your life even if it means living with your pain and feeling totally vulnerable and exposed?
Holy God, I come to you letting down my defenses and exposing myself to You. I am Yours God, open me up and make me into the person that You want me to be. I lift up my brothers and sisters who are reading this devotion and prayer. We need You and want to be all that You created us to be. Please work in us and use us. Help us to see Your shining face and to experience Your power and love for us and for those around us. Prune away all of the “dead” aspects of the flesh in our lives and grow us to become the individual reflections of Christ Jesus that You want us to become. Like Paul and like Peter help us to be willing to not only run to You but to expose ourselves to our fellow brothers and sisters so that we can help each other along in our journeys together. Thank You God, we love You and we pray to You in the name of Christ our Savior and King. AMEN!