One day at church I was carrying a meal that someone had prepared. I tripped on something and the dish went everywhere. I had wasted someone’s hard work and had an audience to boot. A range of emotions quickly flooded my heart and mind: embarrassment, guilt, shame, and most notably, anger.
I had construed the unfolding of this simple accident as though God had arranged that brief series of events to do me harm. One emotion above clearly stands out from the rest: anger. I instantly became angry—at God! In milliseconds I had construed the unfolding of this simple accident as though it were God’s fault.
The gravity of my anger was quickly revealed to me, and what followed was a gift of God’s marvelous grace and kindness toward me in Jesus. Four things happened that I will never forget. First, God renewed my awareness of my sinful disposition that, in this case, was anger and blame-shifting. Second, the Holy Spirit quickened my heart, bringing me to a very specific repentance for my sin of unbelief in God’s promise to use everything in my life to conform me into the image of Christ. Third, I realized that this was more than a fleeting emotion—that I tended to blame God for things that do not go my way. Finally, God’s kindness in salvation motivated me to bring this sinful tendency under control, something He had empowered me to do because I am a Christian (Gal. 5:22-23).
My mishap with a dish that day became pivotal not because of the event itself, nor because of my momentary sinful anger, but because of what God did in my heart through the process.
In, The Knowledge of the Holy, A.W. Tozer famously wrote, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us…Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God. For this reason the gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like.”
What are the thoughts and emotions that flood your mind and heart when you think about God? Are you willing to allow the Holy Spirit to use His scalpel to cut open the heart of your deeply rooted tendencies?
Embrace this lifelong pattern of joyous discomfort before the Lord, but do not fear, nor hide when God pursues you through the conviction. This is a wonderful display of His love.