God loves you and He has an amazing plan for your life. He wants you to be happy and He wants to bless you, but there's so much more to His plans and purposes for you than that.
First and foremost, God wants a personal relationship with each of us. And He wants us to partner with Him in sharing His love and the Gospel of Jesus Christ with those who don't know Him. He wants us to care about them... to pray for them... and to show them His love and what it means to really be a Christian.
I remember a time years ago when I wanted to serve God and witness for Him, telling others about Him, but I didn't have His power in my life to BE a witness. I was going to church every week and was part of the group that went out in the city and handed out Gospel tracts about how you can become a Christian to people on the street. But I didn't enjoy it, and I was just doing it to fulfil an obligation to witness for God.
Then, in 1976, God touched my life in a major way when I was crying out to Him for something more. I knew there had to be more than what I was experiencing in my relationship with Him at that point. God heard my prayer and He did a work in my heart that actually changed my desires so that more than anything else, I wanted to be what He had created me to be.
This is when I got really serious about studying the Bible, and I discovered the key to having true freedom in Christ.
In John 8:31-32 (AMP), Jesus said, "If you abide in My word [hold fast to My teachings and live in accordance with them], you are truly My disciples. And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free." These verses clearly show us that it's not possible to be free without facing the truth.
It's important for us to understand what truth really is. Truth is the way things really are-not the way we think they are or would like them to be or wish they were. It's reality from God's point of view and it is a central theme in His Word. Jesus is the Word of Truth (John 1:14, 17). The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, and He guides us into all the Truth (John 16:13). And as children of God, we belong to the Truth (John 8:31).
But if you want to have the freedom to be who God has created you to be and have the life Jesus died for you to have, then you have to face the truth. And it starts by facing the truth about yourself. I know about this from personal experience, because when I started studying the Word, the Holy Spirit went to work in my life.
I remember one day when I was praying for Dave to change. God spoke to my heart and said, "Joyce, Dave is not the problem." I thought, "Well then, who is? There's just me and him, so if it's not Dave, then who is it?" Isn't that amazing! I was so self-deceived that it didn't even occur to me that I could be the problem.
For the next three days, God showed me what it was like to live with me. I was so sorry for the attitudes I had, the way I behaved, the anger I displayed every time I didn't get my way... and it was so hard! But I needed to face the truth about myself so I could have freedom from sin and the things that were keeping me from the love, peace, wisdom and joy that God had for me in Christ.
It took time for me to change; 2 Corinthians 3:18 says that as we look into God's Word, we "are constantly being transfigured into His very own image... from one degree of glory to another..." (AMP). But each day as I spent time with God in prayer and studying His Word, I made progress little by little.
You know, sometimes we hide things in our heart that are hard to face or deal with. And when we don't deal with them, they cause problems in our relationships and steal the joy from our daily lives. But God wants us to invite Him-the Spirit of Truth-into our hearts to deal with us... to reveal the truth so we can be set free.
Psalm 51:6 says, "Behold, You desire truth in the inner being; make me therefore to know wisdom in my inmost heart" (AMP). And Psalm 26:2 says, "Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; test my heart and my mind."
I want to encourage you not to settle for anything less than the best life Christ has for you. If you're ready to do that, then pray this with me: "Lord, in Jesus' name, I pray that You would examine me, prove me and test me, so that Your Spirit can lead me into all truth." Now get ready, because God wants to reveal Truth to you and make you everything He's created you to be!