I find a tendency in my own heart to return to my sinful habits. Just the other day, I admitted my own addiction to myself. See that post here. The danger with any moment of confession is becoming satisfied with the effort and lowering my guard down again. I suppose the explanation is found in the difference between a sense of duty and a sense of delight, or worship.
Am I trying to manipulate revival in my life so that I will feel better about myself?
Am I sincerely worshipping God through my dependence on Him for mercy and grace, and thus receiving from Him revival?
There is a major difference. I confess my sin, then I find a sense of personal satisfaction in the confession. A burden is lifted from my conscience. But is my conscience tuned to the Spirit? What I mean is that my conscience may be appeased but my motivation was not one of worship, initiated by the work of the Spirit, but a selfish motivation of placating my own sense of guilt for sin. When my motivation is in error, I quickly return to my own vomit. My heart is not drawn closer to God, but is hardened.
Oh, that I may be free from this cycle!
My dear friend, Mark, reminded me tonight that we need hearts of worship, not a cold sense of duty in our Christian life. I will leave it up to him to explain more of what he meant, because he has been thinking about this deeply and you would benefit more to hear it from him.
Do I worship God? or is my Christian life lived out of a sense of duty? I mean, I could give with an attitude of cheerfulness on Sunday morning but not be worshipping God. I should be responding out of gratitude for God’s provision through Christ and through my job, etc. But I respond in a way that gratifies my flesh. I feel good about my work of giving. Works of giving are great, and God uses them. But my works as a Christian is to display God’s craftsmanship in my life. They are to bring glory to the Father! But even though I don’t parade my giving and though I give with a cheerful disposition, inwardly, I am worshipping myself, my own goodness in obeying.
Free me dear Jesus from ME!!!
In The Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God, Jonathan Edwards stated:
For indeed spiritual and eternal things are so great, and of such infinite concern, that there is a great absurdity in men’s being but moderately moved and affected by them.
Those who are in such extremity commonly express a great sense of their exceeding wickedness, the multitude and aggravations of their actual sins…Very often some text of Scripture expressing God’s sovereignty has been set home upon their minds, whereby they have been calmed.
Edwards was defending the revival in his day against those who said that true religion is not expressed through emotional responses, but is done orderly without excess. In response, Edwards showed that the abiding fruit among those revived included extreme responses to their own sinfulness in light of God’s grace. In response to their wickedness, people would scream and cry out, overwhelmed by the wrath they deserve. Then, as with the quote above, they would be calmed by the sovereign truth of the gospel. Others would be so overwhelmed by the love of Christ, they could not move–they would faint and lose strength. Edwards was saying that such emotion did not prove that those were not experiencing true revival. He gave five marks that those expressions accompanied true revival–higher esteem for the Virgin-born, crucified and raised Jesus, testimony of the Spirit working against worldliness and the interests of Satan’s kingdom, greater regard for the scriptures, greater regard for and conviction of the truth, and a present spirit of love for God and fellow men. Why is this relevant to my experience?
In my dealing with sin, I am too lightly moved by my own sinfulness as well as by God’s grace. I need my affections stirred, greatly. My conscience is too easily pleased by the good feeling that accompanies confession. I need the overwhelming conviction that precedes repentance which leads to a greater love of Jesus my savior! I need an attitude of worship, not cold duty. May His Spirit be poured out on me.