““I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin? Does not he see my ways and number all my steps? If I have walked with falsehood and my foot has hastened to deceit,.. If my step has turned aside from the way and my heart has gone after my eyes, and if any spot has stuck to my hands,.. If my heart has been enticed toward a woman… If I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing, or the needy without covering,.. and if he was not warmed with the fleece of my sheep,.. If I have made gold my trust or called fine gold my confidence, if I have rejoiced because my wealth was abundant or because my hand had found much, if I have looked at the sun when it shone, or the moon moving in splendor, and my heart has been secretly enticed,… I would have been false to God above. If I have rejoiced at the ruin of him who hated me, or exulted when evil overtook him,… If I have concealed my transgressions as others do by hiding my iniquity in my heart, because I stood in great fear of the multitude, and the contempt of families terrified me, so that I kept silence, and did not go out of doors— Oh, that I had one to hear me! I would give him an account of all my steps.” Job 31:1,4-5,7,9,19-20,24-29,33-35,37
A friend recently challenged me anew to take time to allow God to search my heart. I find it can become rote to ask a quick blanket forgiveness, to, upon a twinge of guilty conviction, make immediate confession and move on, and realize mine is often a superficial ‘cleanse,’ lip-service to the One Who is worthy of my full concentration, and repentance. Job, in response to his accusing ‘friends,’ was thorough in his introspection, allowing the all-encompassing searchlight of God to invade his recesses of resolve, motivations, deceit, enticements, greed, misplaced affections, idolatry, malice, cowardice, and attempts to hide all of the above. He was honest in reviewing these matters of his heart, appealing to One Who would hear rightly and reconcile.
Sin that initially teases can cover our senses with just enough film to dull our awareness and preclude clear thinking. Like rock smeared with moss that is at first glance deceptively stable, it is slippery under foot and can cause catastrophic harm. Do I take time to assess my heart, my life practices and habits, to account for my old and abiding sin before my merciful Lord? Will I, like Job, review these varied aspects of my intentions, attitudes, behavior toward others, deceptive or loose tongue, and allow God to extricate the root causes? Am I bold enough to own my irritation, jealousy, hoarding of time and control, fear of man, and submit to God’s scrubbing? Only then can I be clean and dry, a firm foundation on which He can build my next steps.
Thank You, Savior, that You do hear my confession, and know all my steps. Apply Your grace, the “faithful and just” of Your forgiveness won at Calvary, and cleanse me for Your use and glory. (1 John 1:9)