A spiritual habit that I have acquired, is to pray certain Scripture daily over loved ones and myself. Praying the Word is not only a powerful weapon of protection, it also cuts through bone and marrow revealing anything that does not belong for the purpose of removal. Benefits include God’s Word becoming ingrained in my mind for memory and in my heart so that it is infused into my character. One particular favorite of mine to pray is, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” After I pray this, I pause and allow the Holy Spirit to convict me of whatever is displeasing and just plain wrong in my thinking and in my actions. Trust me…I never come up with a blank. There are always blatant and hidden sins I am confronted with. No matter the “size” of the sin, I am required to admit it and extract it.
So it came to me one day as I was reading somewhere about this familiar Scripture that when I was praying it, I was quoting the wrong chapter. Every day I was quoting it as Psalm 137:23-24. Friends, there is no such passage. Chapter 137 ends after verse 9. The correct passage is Psalm 139:23-24. I was off by two chapters. Did God meet me when I was asking Him to show me whatever was distancing me from Him even if I was in error of His own Words? Absolutely. He knew my heart. But when He revealed truth, it then became my obligation to admit it and stop saying it wrong. Many times the Holy Spirit shows me things necessary to deal with on a profound level-selfishness, pride, stinginess, and bitterness to name a few. No matter the “size” of the offense, if we are convicted, we need to correct. You may be thinking, “Wow. Aren’t you a bit hard on yourself? Nit picky maybe? It was a simple mistake.” Good enough is not good enough. The Bible says that we all fall short. If I am not able to take correction however small it may seem, I esteem myself higher that I ought and pride seeps in. Pride got Satan cast out of heaven.
John Chapter 8 verses 1-11 tells us about the woman caught in adultery and made to stand in front of the teachers of the law, the Pharisees, and Jesus. The first two groups wanted to strictly adhere to the Law of Moses and stone her. But as Jesus began writing on the ground, those two groups all walked away. We are not told what He wrote; however it was convincing enough for them to cease condemning her. The Law required flawless obedience, and they fell short like everyone else. Jesus, who came not to get rid of the Law, but to fulfill it, accepted this woman just as she was and told her she was not condemned for what she had done. Verse 11 NIV 84 says, “Then neither do I condemn you, Jesus declared. Go now and leave your life of sin.”
Those in authority who left were certainly correct in ceasing to condemn the adulteress. I wonder though if instead of walking away, their lives might have been changed to hear the words, “Go now and leave YOUR life of sin”. Maybe they were corrected, but not convicted. Maybe they compared their sins to hers and did not think they were so bad. Her life was definitely changed in that encounter with Jesus. Were theirs? Did they believe their sins, perhaps not calling for stoning, yet not complete adherence to the Law, were not a big deal? Maybe their sins were more of omission than commission. James 4:17 NIV 84 says, “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do, and doesn’t do it, sins.”
Wherever we are at, heaped up with too many offenses to count, or wanting to come clean on a daily basis, Jesus is waiting. Full of mercy. Full of grace. Absent of condemnation. In that moment when you attempt to grasp this gift, don’t walk away. Wait for His instruction. “Go now and leave YOUR life of sin.” Do not minimize it. That is a trap the enemy wants us to get ensnared in. Accept the conviction, then make correction, and have the connection the Father has always desired to have with you.