Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.
Have you ever said the prayer above? “Search me O God……………..see if there is any wicked way in me?”
Recently I found myself praying this prayer; not in the exact words that David used in Psalm 139, but with the same message to God. The funny thing about me saying the prayer was while I was prepared for God to search me, I wasn’t prepared for what I’d see.
When God searches and finds things in you that are not of Him he has to show it to you in order to bring it to your attention and begin His work on removing it. Of course I didn’t understand that concept until I got a taste of it first hand. I’ll be very honest with you, when I said this prayer I thought God would just speak to me about the things that are deep within my heart that I needed to change. I was really hoping for a dream or a vision or even a word from a prophet telling me what areas in my heart needed work. Boy was I wrong!
As time progressed and I waited on my revelation God began to test me. I know most times when Christians say “test” people usually think trials, but that’s not what I mean. What God did was allow me to be in situations where the decisions I made highlighted what was really in my heart. Can you imagine the horror I felt when I realized that what felt good to me in a situation or what I gravitated toward naturally was not of God?
For me, I’ve always battled with lust. For as long as I could remember; even before I was saved, it was very easy for my mind to stray to situations and places it shouldn’t. When I got saved over a year ago, I started praying and asking God to save me from this spirit. Now I’ll be honest, on the surface I began to gain control of the situation and I earnestly believed that I no longer had a desire to lust anymore. Yet again I was wrong. On the surface I was okay but that desire was hidden deep in my heart and I was only made aware of that when I found myself in the presence of a young man that I’m attracted to. When lust showed up there I felt devastated and defeated.
I went to God in confusion, not understanding why I was getting into trouble again in this area that I was supposedly free from. That’s when God began to minister to me. He began to show me that my problem was much deeper than I realized and that I needed to constantly pray against the spirit of lust, especially when I feel like I’ve got it under control and trust Him while he works on removing it from my life.
This experience gave me a greater understanding of Paul’s words in Romans 7 where he expressed his distress at doing those things he doesn’t want to. In my distress God took me to Matthew 26:41 where I was given my instruction on how to proceed in wisdom where my secret desire was concerned.
“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
More and more as the days progress I’m realizing that in order to live a life of holiness and righteousness I need to constantly be in prayer and fasting. Additionally I’m beginning to understand that righteousness and holiness is not an overnight experience; it’s a daily battle between flesh and spirit and once I remember that and keep surrendering my all to God He, through His Holy Spirit will help me to overcome my battles.
If you’re like me; coming to the realization of just how wicked the desires of the heart can be, and you’re seeking answers to this problem I hope that my testimony has helped a bit. I hope that you use the Apostle Paul’s words in Romans 7; not as an excuse to continue on in sin, but as encouragement to pick you up out of that place of defeat. I urge you to remain focused and continue pressing on to the mark of the higher calling. Additionally I encourage you to heed the advice in Matthew 26:41 “watch and pray”, understanding that the battle between the spirit and the flesh is an ongoing one that can only be overcome through this method.
Feel free to share your thoughts on this matter with me. Your experiences might have in it the next word of encouragement for me and other persons who may be fighting this battle as well.
Share your testimony, share your experiences, share your God!