Harder Family

Harder Family

Thursday, August 6, 2015


Jeremiah 17:9-10 "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick;
who can understand it? 'I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.'"

2 Corinthians 13:5 "Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves."

The definition of examination is the act of looking at something closely and carefully. I have discovered over the last few months how important it is for me to examine my heart. As Jeremiah 17:9 says, my heart is deceitful...it lies to me quite often. It is very easy to believe the lie that my sin isn't a big deal to God or to excuse it away even though I feel the Holy Spirit prompting me to deal with it. As I have been learning more about God and who He is, He has been showing me just how far I have to go, in a good way. Apart for the working of the Holy Spirit in my life, I will always choose sin. Two years ago if you asked me if I had any sin to confess, I would have thought of one or two little things that I had done wrong, but really if I'm honest, I saw myself as a pretty good person. I loved the Lord, I served Him faithfully, I knew I was saved, but I couldn't think of too many bad "sins" that I needed to confess. What I was missing was the proper understanding of who God is and how He is holy...and how He called me to be holy. He doesn't call us to be "good" people, He calls us to be holy, set apart (1 Peter 2:9-10). 

When you start to understand God's holiness, which I'm still learning more about each day, you see just how far you are from where God wants you to be in life. When you examine yourself compared to Jesus, and not the people around you, you see your sin and appreciate God's saving grace even more. (Note: To be clear, it is only the work of Jesus Christ on the cross that saves me from my sin and allows me to have a relationship with God. Nothing I do adds to it...and that is the most beautiful thing...He chose me, saved me, and loved me before I was anything but a wretched sinner. God does all the work! He prepared my heart to understand my need for Him, prodded my heart toward Him, and He continues to do the work in molding me into the person He desires. Just as God loved, pursued, and was patient with the Israelites in the Old Testament, He loves, pursues, and is patient with me. Just as Hosea loved Gomer and was faithful to her, God is faithful to those who He has chosen.) 

I was reading the following passage the other day from Rosaria Champagne Butterfield from her book "Openness Unhindered" and found this so true. "If you call yourself a Christian, but you do not believe that you need to repent of the sin that claims your identity, heart, and perhaps body, my prayer is that this book sounds a serious alarm to you. Your soul is at stake, and I will take the risk of offending you to help. Salvation is a gift, offered to all who have a broken and contrite heart (Ps. 51:17). God promises tenderness to the brokenhearted: “I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken and strengthen the sick,” but judgment for those who defend the right to their sin: “but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with judgment” (Ezek. 34:16). A humble and a broken heart is a gift from God. Pray for a heart that breaks on the rock of Christ. Pray for a tender conscience about sin, even your deepest, most primal sin.”

When God started working on my heart over two years ago, pulling all those deep, ugly sins out of my closet of "excused/self-denial/these can't be really bad sins", I have to tell you it was painful. To confess before God sins that I had previously excused was hard. The end result has been worth all the hard work. The next hard step was confessing those sins to others. As the body of Christ, we are to not only build each other up (1 Thess. 5:11) and sharpen one another (Prov. 27:17), we are to share our struggles and burdens with one another (Galatians 6). Too many of us feel like we are the only ones walking around with certain struggles (body image, pornography, lust, worldly possessions, money, job, family, etc). Instead of walking around with masks, the body of Christ should be honest, open, and real with one another. Freedom comes from sharing the burden of sin with others in the body of Christ. I recently sat down with a friend and had a deep heart to heart with her. I was sharing some things that I had been struggling with in my life. Do you know what I found when I poured my heart out to her? I found out that she had been struggling with some of the same things and didn't want to share with anyone else...she thought she was all alone in this struggle. We were able to walk away from that conversation built up through Christ because we were willing to be real with one another. What if the body of Christ was more like that? What if we were real, open, and honest? I think we would be stronger and we'd look more real to the world around us. 

As God and I have been working on examining my heart, I found this checklist to be helpful for me. It was written by AW Tozer and really helped me look at things in my life. Maybe this will help you see whether you are focused on this world or God:

"Rules for Self Discovery:
1. What we want most;
2. What we think about most;
3. How we use our money;
4. What we do with our leisure time;
5. The company we enjoy;
6. Who and what we admire;
7. What we laugh at."

Some of those struck home with me and they are things that God has been working on in my life over the past two years. There is still a constant struggle. Some days are better then others as God works on my heart. As I have said before, it is a daily battle to submit and let go of things to God. But God is faithful and is oh, so patient with me!

I love the hymn "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing". There is a verse that describes our wandering hearts perfectly. 
"O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let that grace now like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above."

Examining our hearts is not fun, but I think it is a necessary discipline for any true believer. There are so many things to draw our hearts away from God and He deserves all of us, not just part of us. He is patiently waiting for each of us to humbly submit our lives to Him.

I will conclude with AW Tozer's prayer since it accurately describes how I feel.

"O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, that so I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, 'Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.' Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland
where I have wandered so long. In Jesus' name, Amen."


Wayne starts his third cycle of chemo tonight. Tonight we are going out on a date. We are celebrating the blessing of his health and how well he is doing so far with his brain cancer. We are daily leaning on God to get us through every step of this journey and we continue to give our future to Him!! There is no one else I would rather depend and rely upon then God. May He continue to receive all the glory and praise for Wayne's health. God is good!!!

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