I watched the movie Inception. The idea of the movie is to delve into the core of the human subconscious (heart) and discover the hidden secrets of the soul. As I watched the movie, I knew that this concept was nothing new. When we are ready, the Holy Spirit invites all of us on a trip to the center of our hearts, but we have to be willing to go.
In the past year, God has taken me on a journey to the deep recesses of my heart. In all honesty, it has not been enjoyable. I discovered that most of my motives and intentions are connected to the root of selfishness. Selfishness is the human condition: it is our default setting—the thorn in our side. I always thought that my intentions were pure; but when I was pressed, the truth squeezed out.
Peter told Jesus He would never leave Him; but when Peter’s life was threatened, he chose selfishness. His pretty intentions were exposed, and he was humbled. God took Peter down to the inner parts of his Spirit, and Peter’s thorn of selfishness was revealed (Matthew 26.75). The thorn of selfishness (pride, flesh, sinfulness) is in all humans; the sooner we are aware of it, the better prepared will be to live with it.
Once I discovered my selfish nature (and got over the shock), I fervently worked towards working in love. However, I soon realized the difficulty of it. I would say something or do something deceitful, prideful or judgmental without meaning to. “Why did I do that?” I would question myself afterward. “I wasn’t intentionally trying to sin.”
What happens is that we automatically work out of selfishness if we are not consciously working out of love. The inception of our sinful nature was conceived by the Enemy and our consumption of it has infiltrated our entire mindset; and when we are not concentrating, we will unconsciously behave selfishly. That is why Paul says,
“So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” – Romans 7.21-25
That is why we sin without trying to pursue it. As Christians, we have two “inceptions” in our hearts: the corrupted sinful nature we inherited at birth and the perfect spirit nature given to us by Jesus when we accepted Him as our Lord and Savior. It doesn’t matter how good we appear on the outside, if we do not actively – moment by moment – yoke ourselves to Jesus, we will be yoked to the Enemy, our selfishness and the world.
I asked God why throughout this past year He has taken me on this journey to center of my heart and exposed my sin? Why for the past year has He been exploring and measuring every single facet of my life? God led me to the book of Ezekiel when the Lord measured the temple. I read through all the measurements and quickly became irritated: “Why are you having me read all of these temple measurements?” I asked God.
Finally, God brought me to Ezekiel 44.4: “Then the man brought me by way of the north gate to the front of the temple. I looked and saw the glory of the LORD filling the temple of the LORD, and I fell facedown.” Only when God has measured every aspect of our temples, can the fullness of His glory rest on us.
Why is that? Why does He have to measure us first before He allows the fullness of His glory to fill us? The answer is what Paul excitedly claims: “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” – 2 Corinthians 12.9.
When God reveals our selfishness through measuring our hearts, we realize that nothing beautiful can come from our lives separated from God. We in and of ourselves are corrupted by sin. However, God will rest His glory on us when we realize that the Glory is His alone. We can boast in our weaknesses because the awareness of them reminds us that all glory and beauty and love come from God. And this understanding will compel us to fervently seek to walk in His love and not in our own selfishness. This is the foundation of humility.
“So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor” (1 Peter 5.6 NLT). Do you want to be a part of God’s glory? Take a good look at your heart, and know that goodness comes from God alone. Humble the sinful nature, so that God’s perfect nature can have complete authority over your life.