Unless you’ve had an “earthquake” experience, like Isaiah did (Isaiah 6) when he saw the Lord, lifted up and holy, and said, “Woe is me, I am a man of unclean lips,” unless you’ve come to a realization of the depth of your sin — not just before Christ, but ongoing — then you are not going to truly be able to walk in line with the Gospel. The King has brought the Shulamite maiden into his chambers, and uncovered her, and she is suddenly aware of all her imperfections. When the holy light of God first falls on us, we are overwhelmed by our sin. The Shulamite pleads, in Song of Songs “Do not stare at me because I am dark…” (S. of S. 1:6) — she has an awareness of her unworthiness, but does some blaming (those brothers of mine made me work in the sun!) There is a dialogue between her and the King that is intriguing. Hudson Taylor, the great missionary who began China Inland Mission, puts it like this:
She has seen the King’s face and cries, “Ah, I am black!”
“But lovely,” interjects the bridegroom with infinite love and tenderness.”
“No, black as the tents of Kedar!”
“But to me you are as lovely as the tent curtains of Solomon — a lily among thorns…”
The truth is we are black in our sin — our depravity is deeply stained within — yet His blood can take out the worst stain, making us as white as snow.
I remember my fear at realizing the holiness of God when I first came to Him, but then, how He relieved my fear.
I feel I’m having a new awakening in my life, now, forty years later — a new realization of sins I’d lived with, excused, even blaming others — my selfishness, my worry… I am dark. Yet I am so loved — amazing love. And that makes me want to live for Him today.
Please share your reflections.
I have always known that sin is sin in God’s eyes. But until recently I truly held a higher opinion of myself than I should have. I didn’t say or do sinful things, or have what I thought were bad habits. God has lovingly shown me the depth of my sins and the error of thinking I was not struggling with sin. My thoughts and attitudes were so sinful I didn’t even realize it. I spent so much time being bitter within my heart toward my husband. He struggles with alcoholism and tobacco addictions, and has fallen away from seeking God. He is not the man I met and fell in love with…a man so in love with Jesus, a passionate, tender-hearted man.
Every sermon I heard, every devotion I read, I thought “He should hear this.” I was so convinced that if he changed, my life and the lives of our sons would be better. It is a hard road, but I am slowly learning that I need to confess my own sins and pray against anger and bitterness. I need to love as Christ loves. God was and is faithful to me, even though I am dark with sin. Thank you Father for your indescribable gift to me, for cleansing me of my sinful deeds. Thank you for the beautiful love you show me every day and for dying on the cross to provide atonement for my sins.
Please pray for me as I strive to please the Lord, and for my husband to be freed from his chains.
Such beautiful sharing — vulnerable, honest. Thank you.
Thank you so much – what a beautiful testimony! You’ve helped me see the “darkness” in my own heart, and the one who loves me so much.
Thank you. Your testimony touched my heart. I too, have struggled with what could be, if only so and so would change, but you helped me see that I don’t have control over so and so, but God loves me and wants to do His work in me. Thank you.
I like Mary P, loved Marilyn’s insight into her soul.
Here’s a funny sad story from me on how good I am at deceiving myself.
I thought I lost ten pounds this summer — but I recently had the awakening that I have simply learned how to stand on the scale in such a way that it makes me lighter. I think I have lost five pounds, but the other five are deceit — stepping on and holding my body in such a way that I fool the scale, fool my heart, and hide my real self. Such a picture of how we are deceitful and desperately wicked about our sin. And I wrote A Woman of Moderation! So far to still go!
And on a deeper level than tricking myself about my weight, I trick myself about the state of my soul — measuring where I know I’m strong. The truth is, I am still so self-obsessed. I do think about myself less (maybe five pounds less) 🙂 ) but I still think about myself more than any other thing, including the Lord. That’s the truth, O my soul.”Change my heart, O God!”
Thank you, Dee,
I identify with that so much. Self-deception. Recently as I was studying one morning, the Lord gave me some thoughts that I will share. Although I’m not sure what He intends for me to do with these thoughts, I have had opportunity to share. God brought to mind 4 different types of mirrors. The first was the rear view mirror. I saw that one in the light of Phil. 4:13,”. . . forgetting those things which are behind. . .”. not all the things we gleaned from the past, but those things that are unprofitable. The next was the distorted mirror. I thought about the mirrors that distort our images. Some make us appear tall and skinny and others short and dumpy. I saw this mirror as our perceptions. The next was the shattered mirror – brokenness in our lives. And the fourth was the perfect mirror. This one was God’s Word that perfectly reflects His image. When I look into that mirror, whose image do I see? That perfect mirror reveals my true size, height, body shape, and all by blemishes and age spots. Then I thought about the Lamb without spot or blemish that takes away the sin of the world. He is the Overcomer of my dark places. Sometimes I visit those dark places, but He is faithful always.
I think I might know the same way of standing on the scale as you do!
Love to you,
Dierdra’s good mirror pictures are making me think — that’s what I love about the women on this blog. I love women of depth who cause me to think.
I thought about how when you and I look into the mirror, we know how to look so we see our best face. Just like I know how to get on the scale to fool myself, I know how to look in the mirror. I always look prettier in the mirror than in pictures! 🙂
Dierdra’s right — when God looks he really sees: the wrinkles, the blemishes, the rolls of fat. And here, in The Song of Songs, she is uncovered, “in his chamber,” “in his bed.” He sees her as she really is and loves her. This made me remember a story from a dear friend whose husband belittled her body during their honeymoon (she’s now divorced — he left her for a better body) — but how different our Lord is. He sees us as we really are but loves us so.
Amazing love — how can it be?
Dee, This brings to mind a diagram ( you may want to actually draw it) that explains to me the realization of my sin and how it develops. I will try to explain. Picture a megaphone. At the small end is a small cross. That represents our salvation and our relationship with Christ. Not that it is a small matter, but the relationship is new and not developed. At the large end of the megaphone is a large cross. This represents our spiritual walk and as our relationship grows with Him, the cross becomes bigger and more important. The top line leading from the small cross to the big cross represents God’s grace. The bottom line leading from the small cross to the big cross represents the acknowledgement of our sin and depravity. In other words, the bigger the cross gets, the closer we are to Him. The closer we are to Him, the more we see our sins and the need of a savior. The more we see our sins, the more we realize the amazing grace and love that God has given us. It would have been much easier to draw. I hope I didn’t cause confusion. God’s grace is amazing.
That’s great, Barb. So true. Thanks so for sharing.