I have been pondering the verse "the heart is deceitfully wicked, who can know it?", and have come to the conclusion that only God really knows what lies down in the deep recesses of my heart.
I've referred to my heart as life's trash can before, and I'm convinced that it is not far from true. I don't spend a lot of time with my nose in my navel in prayer, i.e. praying about myself, but I do regularly ask and expect the Lord to examine my heart and to dig out any trash that may be in there rotting.
And of course, from time to time, something really stinky from my garbage can becomes quite evident to me and probably others, which tells me that the Lord has been digging around in there and is looking to pull it out and get rid of it. It's never pleasant!
But what is exciting about all of that is that when the Lord does pull something out, He replaces it with something really wonderful--a small dose of Himself. It is always with my permission, but oftentimes without my knowledge. Then He puts me in a situation to test what He has just deposited and when I pass the test, I'm totally surprised!
Lately, I was put in a situation that exposed an area of my heart that normally would have illicited something stinky. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the Lord had removed that something stinky and replaced it with a little bit of His character.
I was publically embarrassed by a friend. My first reaction was one of disbelief and a little hurt. But almost within the same split second, I no longer was thinking about how embarrassed I was. I immediately thought, "they have no idea what they just did." And then I actually became troubled for my friend because they had caused themselves to look worse than they had made me look. I was totally taken aback by my reaction!
I was not always like that. Before, I would experience the hurt, some anger, even occasionally some "who do they think they are" kind of stuff. After a little sulking, I would eventually come around to choosing to think the best of that person, would forgive and go on. But this time was different. It was an immediate response and the whole situation didn't trip me up even a little.
Now my husband happened to witness the whole situation and talked to me about it later. I told him that I had just chosen to let it go because I just couldn't believe that what the situation looked like to others was actually what was in the heart of my friend. He agreed, but made me promise if it happened again, I would say something to that person. And I will, but not because of me, but out of love for my friend.
I just love when I am put in situations where I am pressed just a little because it's a good way to know when the Lord has been digging around in my trashcan and when I need to take off the lid for Him to have a look-see.
It's nice to know that He is still working on me! Sometimes, it stinks, and I can then go to the Lord and say, "get this out of there!" But when it doesn't stink, it lets out the sweet aroma of Christ to those around me.
I take no credit for any change that happens in my heart, my mind, or my character. It's all God. It's amazing to me that only God can change a heart. As knowledgable, self sufficient, and independent as we are, we are helpless when it comes to changing the very nature inside of us. Anything good found in there is unreservedly of His creation!
So to God I say "Dig on!" Dig out every piece of smelly trash that you can find. Even those things that seem permantly stuck to the inside of my heart. Take your scalpel and scrape it clean until I am a vessel full of YOU!