“(1) Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. (2) Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1-2)
This is a fitting note to ponder over considering just last night I finally yielded to the Holy Spirit and changed my name to Lael (Lay-el). This was not an easy decision. I will admit I haven’t even told my mom yet. To be honest I am nervous about doing this. I have no idea how she will react I just know it won’t be a good reaction. It is a matter I am praying over. But what this has made me wonder about is how many other urgings of the Holy Ghost am I disobeying? How many commands has H.G. given me that I am completely unaware of because I am so wrapped up in my life? The honest number frightens me.
Here I thought I was pretty good at listening to the Holy Ghost. Last night shamed me, proved me wrong. And that was a command H.G. had been pressing on my heart for years. What other areas of my life am I completely failing at in the offering of being a living sacrifice? This is not a fun list to compile. As I start to think about this list I cringe and find myself getting physically lower and closer to the ground. I can only guess this is an inkling of what people in the Bible felt when they were confronted with God, Jesus, or an angle … and they fell on their face. I am truly sorry Holy Ghost that I am so deaf, blind, and dumb.
‘In view of God’s mercy.’ A mercy I am so ill-deserving of. If this sin of mine makes me want to wretch I can’t imagine how it makes God feel. I can’t imagine how many times I have broken the heart of the Holy Ghost. He is with me always, talking to me to guide me in the right direction. And I ignore Him. I go on about my day as if He isn’t even there. The closest thing I can akin this to would be having my fiancé at my side all day every day and simply ignoring his existence because I don’t need him. Which is a complete lie. I do need Jeremy. I need H.G. even more. So why is it so danged hard to listen to Him?
Because I am completely conformed to the pattern of this world. I get caught up in the wants of my flesh, in the distractions of the world, and the whispering s of the enemy that I really don’t make time for the Holy Ghost to do His work in me and through me. This means I am not truly and properly worshipping God. This, in itself, is a terrifying and horrifying thought. I dread the day of falling on my face before the throne of Christ … and Him showing me every missed, ignored, and denied opportunity I had to be a living sacrifice for Him. I know there will be a ton of them. I am a Chief among sinners. I screw up all the time.
Just today I was listening to a sermon on the internet and I found my flesh wanting to distract myself with other things. Not because the sermon wasn’t intense or wonderful. It was simply because my fingers and mouse could click the button at the same time my ears are hearing. I corrected myself of this no less than four times in the hour my Pastor was talking. The Holy Ghost was poking at me, and giving me the strength to deny the need of my flesh to always be multitasking. When I am at Church it is easy to sit still and listen with all my soul to what is being said. But when I am home … my mind tells my body of all the other things that need to get done that I could be getting done while I ‘listened’ to the sermon. The ginormous problem with this is … that wouldn’t be listening. I would be hearing. I wouldn’t be paying attention to the depths of my soul. I wouldn’t be availing myself to hear the soft whispering of the Holy Ghost to the things He wants me to work on, notice, or be convicted of. I become Martha who passes up time at Jesus’ feet because she has a list to complete.
The only list I should be completing is how to become holy and pleasing to God. The only ‘to dos' I need to really pay attention to are the things H.G. brings to my attention. That is if He can get me to pay attention. Yesterday I thought I was paying attention attentively. I figured I was actually pretty good at this. I am so completely, utterly, and dead wrong.
My life needs to be about God’s will. It’s not that it ‘should be’ or that it ‘would be nice if’ it was all about God’s will. It NEEDS to be about God’s will. My heavenly Daddy is perfect, good, and altogether wonderful. If I would just listen to the Holy Ghost I can’t even fathom where I would be right now. I want my life, heart, and soul to be so close and tight with H.G. that someone might mistake us for a twizzler.
I am not a living sacrifice right now. If I died tonight I don’t know if the light and love of Christ would be left in my wake. Would people know Lael, or would they only remember all the things that Sarah did? I am stunned into shame when I sit here thinking about all the ways I have failed to let Jesus’ light shine through me. I don’t want people to say “Wow, she really loved Jesus.” That would be nice. What is nicer is what is said about the apostle John. John is the beloved one of Christ. The fact that John loved Jesus was so known, common, and consistent that everyone knew he loved the LORD. What was more surprising, noteworthy, and shocking to people is how much Christ’s love for John shown throughout his life. And I am certain that love spilled out of John onto everyone he met. Jesus is like that. God is perfect, pleasing and good.
Every moment of my life is an act of worship. Am I worshiping the LORD as John did? And if I am not what in the heck am I worshiping with every breath? I don’t like this about me. I am a perfectionist so I really hate being this bad at something. I know I need to slow down. I know I need to be in prayer more, constantly, with H.G. so I can strengthen my recognition of His voice. I know I need to be in my Bible more so that I may get to know my God and my Savior better. I know I never will be perfect at any of this, but the truth of the matter is I could be doing a heck of a lot better than I am right now.
So tonight I am frustrated and ashamed. The good news is that tomorrow I am given a clean slate, a fresh start. I know for certain that as I type these words out I am already forgiven … and thus I am spotless and without blemish … a pure white sheep before the Lamb of God. The good news is that God is merciful and loving. He gave us His only Son, Jesus Christ. The good news is that no matter how many times I screw this up—and trust me it will be a lot—the Holy Ghost will never give up on me. God will never abandon me. And Christ will never let me go. I am loved of God, and thankfully He has graced me with more chances to shine His abundant love onto everyone around me.
Abba, Father … thank you Daddy for being so good to me. Thank you for your long suffering patient with this fallen, lost sheep. You amaze me at the depths of love You will go to for me, and for us. I know my understanding of all of this puts me in the kiddy pool of the ocean of Your affection for us. I am so sorry for my countless missed chances, but I am eternally grateful for the slew and magnitude of chances You will continue to bestow on me. Holy Ghost, please help me get out of my own way. Please help me to unplug my ears, and open my eyes, so that I may receive Your guidance and love. Jesus I yearn to be a living sacrifice for You and to You. I hunger to truly and properly worship You. I know I will never get this perfect, and probably not even close to good. I will continue trying, though. Thank You sooo much that Your mercy, righteousness, and forgiveness has nothing at all to do with my works … but are wholly dependent on Your work through the cross. I do love You so much. I will strive to be a more agreeable sheep tomorrow. I am sorry You have to keep hiking through rough terrain to find me, and bring me back to the flock. At the same time I am so glad You do.
I pray that one day You will find all my friends and family. Please keep them out of Hell. Holy Ghost would you please work on their hearts as You work on mine. In Jesus’ name I pray all these things and more …the longings of my heart … Amen.