This past week, like most weeks really, the Lord was really gracious to me and pointed out some stinky attitudes in my heart. So fun. But so necessary.
Let's get real for a moment. Here are just a few issues the Lord was kind enough to reveal:
entitlement. laziness. self-protection. people-pleasing. self-righteousness. earning. pride.
You know, just to name a few. It was a real special 20 minutes as I sat there seeing all of this in my precious little heart.
It’s such an uncomfortable process to stand there before The Lord, The Perfect One, with me looking all shabby and smelly and knowing that He sees it all. It’s almost more uncomfortable to see the glow of love in His eyes as He looks at me.
Thankfully, God has given us tons of examples in the Bible to look to as we try to navigate this road of change. King David in particular is a crazy example of how to screw up, and then how to respond to the Lord when He leads us deeper into consecration.
This season of King David’s life starts out pretty rough in 2 Samuel 12. Sum up:
Misstep #1: David is feeling chill and stays home from war when he should be out fighting.
Misstep #2: He sees a beautiful lady, and because he’s the king, orders her to his palace, and sleeps with her, even though she’s married.
Misstep #3: Then, He finds out she’s pregnant with his child, so he murders her husband, who is out fighting the battle that the king should be fighting.
Yowza. He’s in this mess real deep. All of this from the guy that God describes as “A man after My own heart.”
The crazy thing is, he goes on with life, like no big deal. Business as usual. Until Nathan the prophet shows up and calls him out on his sin.
Let’s look at what King David does to get his heart back on track with God:
1. He repents. When the prophet Nathan comes to confront King David on his sin, David has a few options. When we get our sin pointed out, we immediately want to:
- MAKE EXCUSES.
- ALL OF THE ABOVE.
David doesn’t choose any of these options. He owns his sin and brings it to God. This humble road will lead us out of the mess. Sadly, things don’t just go back to normal even though he owns his sin. The baby that he had with the other man’s wife dies because of David’s sin. That’s huge. That’s no joke. Sin always leads us to death - and Nathan the prophet says it would have been King David’s life if he hadn’t repented.
2. He fasts. King David fasts for seven days “on behalf of the child.” Fasting isn't some miracle-worker that earns us points with God. God already favors us. Fasting is uncomfortable, but it’s Biblical. David’s sin caused a massive mess, and fasting helps him to get the focus off of himself and onto God. It magnifies what God can do and what God is saying. We don’t have to fast every time we mess up, but there are occasions when it will propel us close to the Father’s heart (please check with your doctor before beginning a fast). For more on fasting, see the resources at the bottom.
3. He lay prostrate (face down) before God. In 2 Samuel 12:16-17, it says,
This simple action is incredibly humbling... the King of an entire nation physically lowers himself to the ground before the King of Everything. There are some really interesting studies on the heart/body connection. This Ted Talk by Amy Cuddy shares how the position of your body truly affects your attitude and how you feel. King David lays face down before God, and I believe it helps to change his heart. There is something powerful about getting on our knees before the Lord, or laying face down in His presence and approaching God in that position. It’s hard to feel proud when I am bowing my body before the True King. If you’ve never done that before, try it.
4. He embraces his forgiveness. King David’s child ends up dying. Afterwards though, this is what happens in verse 20:
Even though murder and adultery are some serious business, he doesn’t wallow in his shame forever. He repents, he’s serious about it, he receives his forgiveness, and he comes out of it a new man.
What can we learn from this? All of the things. King David is human like us and screws up. But he knows that God is Good and Gracious. He leans in, even though it is uncomfortable. If you want to hear more of his heart on this, King David wrote a song in Psalm 51 all about how he needs God to cleanse him. It’s powerful.
When your turn comes for the Lord to correct you, to discipline you, to reveal some sin in your life, follow David’s example. Own it. Humble yourself. Receive what Jesus did for you. Then move on as a stronger, more awesome you.
Is there an area of your life that you already know you need to deal with? Stop right now and get this process started. When was the last time you asked the Lord to check your heart? Do you need to find a trusted friend or mentor to walk through this process with you?
Here are some more resources to help you:
Fasting by Jentzen Franklin is a great book.
A short (3 min) look at how God sees us, even when He exposes our sin - By Steven Furtick: