Sometimes when I have to decide what to write about, God comes up with ways to make it so clear that not even my seriously distracted mind can miss it. (Thanks, God!) Let me just share a recent example. Sunday morning was one of those mornings when God woke me up. I don’t know if you’ve ever had one of those, but for me it usually goes something like this:
I wake up, look at the clock to see how incredibly early it is, and try to talk myself into staying in bed and just keeping my eyes closed in hopes that I will fall back asleep. Then God says, “Good morning, child. Yes, I woke you up. Yes, I had good reason. Time to stop procrastinating and get out of bed. Come downstairs and spend some time with me while the rest of the house is quiet. I want to talk with you.” So I toss back the covers and tiptoe downstairs. I grab my Bible and bow my head, thanking God for waking me early so that I can give him my undivided attention. Then I ask God to give me ears to hear and eyes to see what he wants say.
This past Sunday, God led me to Psalm 24. (As a side note, I love to underline verses in my Bible that have been made into worship songs. I put a little music note next to them so the next time I read that verse I can sing it to God.) As I got to verses three and four of Psalm 24, I read,
“Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.”
As I read, I began to sing the song “Give us clean hands, give us pure hearts….” I grabbed a pencil to underline the verses and insert my music note. Immediately, my heart filled with joy.
I can not explain how much excitement I feel when God speaks to me through his word. It’s not the jump-up-and-shout kind of excitement. It’s more like the heart-so-full, eyes-brimming-with-tears kind of excitement. Psalm 24 goes on to explain that those who receive blessing from the Lord are those who seek his face. If we lift up our heads and open our hearts, the King of glory will come in. What a way to start a Sunday morning! God is so good to remind me to seek him day by day.
And furthermore, he reminds me that if I am to approach him, I must have clean hands and a pure heart. If I am stuck in sin, holding on to something that is not of God, I can not approach him expecting my prayers to be answered. He wants me to lay down everything before him. I must set aside all other things that crowd my life and make sure that nothing else takes the place he deserves, the number one spot. God will not stand for second. If I hold anything higher than him, I need to identify it, repent of it, and ask him to be number one again.
So when it comes to spring cleaning, how are your hands? How is your heart? For the Christ-follower, this ought not be a once a year, “spring cleaning” endeavor. Evaluating the heart needs to be a daily task. I thank God for waking me up early on a Sunday morning to remind me of this. God is so good to speak to me with exactly what I need to hear.
What about you? Do you say “yes” to God when he wakes you up early and asks you to spend time with him? Or, like me, do you sometimes close your eyes and will yourself back to sleep? I encourage you to say yes. Say yes, and see what blessings follow.
By the way, we went to church later Sunday morning and guess what song we sang?
We bow our hearts, we bend our knees
Oh Spirit come make us humble
We turn our eyes from evil things
Oh Lord we cast down our idols
So give us clean hands and give us pure hearts
Let us not lift our souls to another
Oh give us clean hands and give us pure hearts
Let us not lift our souls to another
Oh God let this be a generation that seeks
Who seeks Your face, oh God of Jacob
Oh God let us be a generation that seeks
Who seeks Your face, oh God of Jacob…..
(Written by Charles Eugene Hall III)
In the middle of singing the song, while holding my toddler, I dug through my purse, found my Bible, turned to Psalm 24, and held it excitedly front of my husband, pointing to verses 4-6. He had no idea what the big deal was. He gave me a look like, “That’s nice, but I am trying to sing here. Let me enjoy praising God with this song.” It wasn’t until I explained on the way home from church that God had led me to that verse that very morning that he understood my excitement. But even then, it wasn’t as special to him. It couldn’t be, because God had woken me up. The words were for me. (Again, thanks God for making it SO clear for me!)
So now I ponder, is there anything that I am lifting my soul to that is not of God? He gives me time each day to evaluate, and to recommit my life to him and his ways.
I pray that you wake up with God. Listen to him and let him fill you with the “ heart-so-full, eyes-brimming-with-tears kind of excitement.” His word is so useful in guiding us on a day to day basis, if only we make the choice to read. Listen to his voice. Then ask yourself, do I have any cleaning to do? And then, thank him for letting you identify what separates the two of you. Our God is a god of love and compassion, and he desires for us to be fully committed to him, always.
In Joyful Surrender,