Search me, 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. Psalm 139:23, 24
I am in the business of acquiring consent. A field trip – a consent form. Support for a student – a consent form. Use technology with learners – a consent form. It seems that for as many other things as I do, one of them is acquiring consent. All parties must know what is happening and when.
I have thought about spiritual consent. But, not really. I mean, God has permission for anything, doesn’t He? And, really, is He going to ask for input on the scenario?! Highly unlikely!
But I was drawn up short tonight. For God to do His work in my life. I do need to fill out the spiritual consent form. It’s not enough just to nod my head quickly and hope the process will be over before I’ve finished nodding. God’s not interested in the surface stuff. He’s after the hard bits. The ones locked down with multiple chains and padlocks that I bury in the cellar of my heart. That’s what He’d like permission to go after. Do I give Him consent?
I have too frequently read these verses glibly. I’ve darted through (because they’re the last verses in the chapter) without really pondering what they mean. Giving God permission, requesting Him to take inventory in my life is a serious thing. He wants unfettered access to all of the parts of it. My heart, my thoughts (which are often anxious), and my ways. Nothing I do escapes those avenues.
I am often scared to really throw open the doors to my heart, mind and ways because of my view of God. When I see Him as judge, I know that I am guilty. I sin. I then live in fear knowing that I can never measure up to His exacting standard. When I see Him as jury, I know that I stand condemned. There is no way that I can earn the favour of God. Fear rules. Why would I consent to that?
But that’s not my God. He is the One who loves me so much He sent His one and only Son (John 3:16). He is the One who forgives (Romans 6:23). He is the One who sent His Son to pay the punishment for my sin so that I would not have to pay the price of my own redemption (Romans 5:8). He is the One who desires a relationship with me so much that He has made the way simple for me to start a relationship with Him (Romans 10:9). He is the One who cannot wait for me to spend eternity in His presence (John 14:2). He is the One who has promised to provide direction and hope because He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). He is the One who knows that I cannot do life without teachers and reminders and so He has provided the Holy Spirit (John 14:26). He is the One who knows that I will need His voice to guide and direct me and so He speaks so that I will know who to follow (John 10:1-18). Do I consent to this? Absolutely!
So, the vault of my heart, mind and ways was pried open tonight before my good, good Father. The One who knows me well and loves me deeply was given permission to shine His light. It was revealing – it usually is. It was penetrating – Jesus doesn’t work in half measures. There is work to be done. It was well worth it to say yes on the consent form!