James 4:7-10 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
Step 1 in being able to hear the Lord speaking directly to you is to clean out the funnel that goes from Him to you and through which He speaks. We all have a funnel. It’s not always clean. Sometimes it’s filled with the muck of unconfessed sin, the baggage of unforgiveness- (toward God, others, ourselves even), the fear of hearing what God has to say, the hardness of our own hearts, the whirling noise of our escape from our spirits into our intellect or emotions.
Well yes, we are all going to have some of that, aren’t we? Of course. But if there is anything about which we are consciously aware and are refusing to face or deal with, that’s the stuff that can block us from hearing the voice of the Lord. But what’s really cool is that He is FAITHFUL to reveal to us what those things are IF we ask Him.
So first things first, find a quiet place, an alone place, and make your mind and emotions be still. Go into your bedroom, put on some praise music to usher in the presence of the Holy Spirit, and lay down. Close your eyes and make sure to breathe deeply. Feel the Lord stroking your brain into stillness and then simply ask the Lord to search you and know you, to reveal to you anything He chooses to reveal, for which He wants you to ask forgiveness. Make sure to have a pad and pen nearby because honestly, sometimes He will just start with a long list that you’ve not thought of forever. Start with your earliest memories, as a child, through to today. This might take several days, weeks even. But KNOW THIS! As the Lord reveals these things to you, you will not feel condemnation or shame or terror or anything! He will reveal them to you in peace, in freedom, with love. They may bring you sadness and grief and (probably) shock, haha! But if you sense any condemnation and hatred or fury- anything that would make you curl inward, tell the enemy to get out of your face! The Lord will never do that to you.
Go through these things, one at a time, and confess them with all humility so that you may be healed. If there are things you need to do to make something right- with another person or entity, please do so whenever possible. If making amends will hurt someone, please think twice before doing so. Hurting others in this process must be clearly instructed by the Lord.
When I was doing this, I remembered a rug cleaner I had rented years ago and rapidly shoved in a back closet as my new in-laws drove up in the driveway. Then I forgot about it. We were poor and by the time I found it, I knew we had no means to pay for the months long rental. So I had left it buried in “stuff” for years. The Lord brought it to memory when I was doing my inventory and I knew that He wanted me to take it back to the store. I was so frightened that I’d go to jail, couldn’t pay the bill, you name it. And when I say frightened, I mean terrified. But I chose obedience. Put it in the car, drove to the store, confessed what I had done. The manager laughed like it was the funniest thing he’d ever heard, took the machine and told me, “No charge, dear.” Yay, God! I can’t tell you the relief I felt! Honestly I had no idea that the burden had been so heavy on me until it was lifted.
Please take time to do this. You won’t get it all done, I assure you. It’s an ongoing process for the rest of our lives. But I can tell you, every little thing you check off that list will make you feel lighter and lighter and lighter, with more joy than you had before. You’ll be looking for anything else to confess after a while because it just makes you feel so clean! This is why the Lord tells us to keep short accounts. He wants that freedom in us!
And perhaps by now, you’ve already thought of your first one…… so don’t tarry, be on your way and start cleaning out your funnel. Freedom is coming. Freedom is here!
Take Away: Keeping short accounts is crucial. We need to be constantly taking inventory of our lives, presenting it to the Lord so that He will forgive us, correct us, and transform us into His likeness.
Prayer: Dear Lord, reveal to me from cradle to now, those things I have done that have not been Your will, that have been sinful or hurtful to myself and others. I don’t want anything to interfere in my relationship with you. Cause me to be still before You, that You may examine my heart and reveal those things to me. I desire to confess and be set free. I desire to humble myself and make amends wherever possible. Lord, I want to know You more.