My Personal Experience Of “Seeing How Evil I Am” and “Realizing God’s Grace”
(The following happened to me about 12 years ago. I pray you will be blessed from my experience of pruning – seeing how evil I am and then seeing God’s grace.)
There is such a heavy, dryness in my spirit right now that I see God’s love as very far away from me as possible.
I see God’s love as very intimate and personal. However, I also see myself as so unworthy of it that it leaves me speechless. I can only see my flesh as evil. Therefore, I deserve a death in hell because of my flesh. As I think frequently of this, I am crying. I am crying very much in my heart right now. I am certain, however, that very soon I will be all cried out. There will be no more tears to shed.
I assure you this will occur. It will also occur for you when you again become overwhelmed of how unworthy you are to receive God’s love. Be gentle with yourself during this time. Do not worry too much if you do not understand what is occurring.
Just know God is pruning you. He is clearing the deck, removing layer after layer of your corrupted flesh. He is only getting closer to the pure area of love in your heart where He wants to begin to root His love, to make His home in you.
First, though, He must remove the thorns, the weeds, and the scars one at a time. This is the pruning process that you do not understand; it may even be very painful for you right now. God is working on your inside, where He is not seen. His fruit will grow out through you in His time. Just keep an open heart to His love. Otherwise, your pruning will be longer and unnecessarily more painful.
When Jesus is pruning you, He is definitely clearing the deck so you become increasingly desensitized to your old way of thinking.
I recall this specifically occurring to me a few years ago during a church service. During the praise and worship hour of the service, I was becoming so overwhelmed at how my sins hurt my Lord. The Holy Spirit was clearly showing me how evil I am without Him. It truly was breaking my heart that I am so evil within. I was grieving because my sins crucified my Lord. I could not even praise and worship the Lord from my heart. All I remember during the praise and worship hour was openly weeping, uncontrollably. I often attempted to hide the crying by burying my head in my lap. I cried for one hour uncontrollably. (Has this to some extent ever occurred to you?)
After the hour, I was totally exhausted and could not even concentrate on the word the minister was speaking. I truly felt dazed and confused. All I can remember during the sermon was how much I cried – how truly the evil within me hurts my Lord. The pains to Jesus caused by my sins truly have broken my heart. That was all I could think about. (Subconsciously, I was basically crying out to the Lord for mercy.)
I am convinced this was a key breakthrough for me. For as soon as I exited the church when the service ended, my confusion vanished. Immediately, God’s personal love for me just flooded my mind. I could only focus that the Holy Spirit (who resided in Jesus when He was a man) now resides in me forever. I will never be alone again. I was so taken back.
Suddenly, that was all I could think about for the remainder of the day and the next few days – Jesus lives in me forever. The Holy Spirit was clearly showing me how personally God loves me. I was further convinced because God was pruning me by showing me how evil I was. He cleared the deck; the visible sign was the uncontrollable tears.
Now I understand more of His grace and mercy. It sure is grace and mercy when you are aware of how evil you are without Christ. Yet, God lifted me up to a higher level of love in Him. Jesus renewed my mind by training me to think differently – God’s way. God’s thoughts were now becoming my thoughts.
It definitely becomes easier to be absorbed by His love when He clears your mind. This is what the Lord will do for you once you begin to permit Him to. You will see how evil you are within; God then moves in very actively. He certainly does because He loves you so much. Understand well that “crying yourself out” is not unusual. Neither is the result of the outpouring of His personal love for you when you consistently keep an open heart of love for the Lord.
You are in good company because the apostle Paul experienced the same. Look at his words from Romans 7:15-23 “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.”
This is exactly how I felt when I cried myself out. You will also, if not already. Paul cried himself out as he recognized the evil within. Then, he immediately grasped the true answer to his identity and to his relationship with God. Romans 7:24-25 “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”
This is what occurred to me when I left church that evening. Yes! Thank you, Lord, for Your love and grace. Be encouraged, brethren, the same will occur for you. It is all truly worth it. You will experience more of the love of Christ. Can anything ever be more exciting? No. Nothing even comes close. What a blessing God provides when you can honestly admit, “I am a wretched person within!”
With this type of pruning, it is easy to see why there are no big shots in the Christian life. No one is to be placed on a pedestal. Only the Lord is the big shot. Only He is to be placed on a pedestal – the pedestal of Calvary. High on a cross is Jesus glorified. To see Jesus dead is to see our flesh dead. I Peter 2:24 “Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by Whose stripes ye were healed.”
It makes me so appreciative of His grace when I see Him dead on a cross. I sure am wretched without Him. Now I can die to that death daily and be resurrected daily by His resurrected life in me as God. He truly loves me. He truly is worth it all.