I have never really like taking test except for the ones I knew the answers to. I would come into the classroom with such readiness and confidence to show off my knowledge to the teacher. I would finish in record time and walk with a smile on my face to the front of the class while those who had not studied or didn't know a thing would look at me with such envy. However I have also been in their seats before. I didn't study or understand and I would stay up half the night preparing (more like cramming) and yet still I would walk in the classroom with my head hung in shame. I would take the entire time needed for the test and then I would walk to the front of the classroom at the very last second because I couldn't have the teacher or professor grading it in front of me. Examining my heart has been no different. God’s word highlights the good the bad and ugly of our hearts and it causes us to change. The word test means; critical examination or evaluation and the word examine means; to test the condition to inspect closely. We don’t want anyone that close to our hearts.
Lamentations 2:41/42 Let us test and examine our ways and return to the Lord. Let us lift up our hearts and hands to God in heaven.
To examine our ways may mean that the bitterness that is hiding behind that fake smile may be exposed or that secret sin or insecurities that we often hide behind “church work” may also be exposed. We hide behind so many things including religion and addictions and we miss such an intimate relationship with the Creator in fear of what He may expose. We often view God as a punisher therefore we never really embrace His pure and unfailing love. His word doesn't expose to embarrass or bring shame that is what the enemy does. God makes you new and exposes those areas to bring change in you as He molds you to look like Him. He wants your heart no matter the condition and that includes those dirty areas that you think are hidden. He wants you to see Him as your Father who never is disappointed in you. Last week I received about 5 messages from ladies requesting prayer regarding their marriages because they are hanging on by a thread and it seems as if there is no hope but I refuse to believe that lie. God is the God of restoration, reconciliation and passion. In this verse it says “return to the Lord” and return means to go back in thought or practice or condition. For husbands go back to the Lord and love her like Christ loves the church. That means pursue her heart. Give her flowers, leave her a note, take her on a date and let her know she is the only one for you. For wives put your husband in front YES in front of the kids. He is yours to place yourself under for protection and direction. He can’t lead you if you won’t follow. Encourage him, pray for him and stop nagging him. Let him know that he is the only one for you. When we return to the Lord we are returning to the ways of our Creator. Showing grace, walking in forgiveness, serving with our whole hearts and walking in the truth of His word without fear. It is seeing yourself the way God sees you and its walking away from addictions and not looking back. Fully seeking His presence no matter the outcome of our prayers will push out those fears that led you into bondage to begin with. Let God examine you today not with a grade in mind with a pass or fail mentality. Let Him remove all those regrets that led you to shame, or those thoughts that have or will turn to disobedience. God wants to redeem you and allow you to walk in the fullness of Him. The last part of that verse is my favorite because it is the sign of surrender. It says in 42 “Let us lift up our hearts and hands to God in heaven.” Whether it is your marriage, addiction, finances, insecurities or some secret sin you are trying to overcome you will not be able to do it. Its time to lift up your hands in complete surrender and position your heart for examination and know the change which leads to freedom will come. Galatians 5:1 It is for FREEDOM that Christ set us FREE. This is an open book test so to speak.. open God’s word and open your heart and let change begin!! Be encouraged and walk in freedom today!