I can’t remember the exact moment it happened, but that it happened is for sure. I was standing in my kitchen when I started to speak to myself out loud. I was walking back & forth carefully and painstakingly working on an imaginary list. I was cleverly adding, changing and removing items form it. I wanted to be ready. Ready to petition my case. I wanted to know from God why His promises were not evident in my life.
I wanted to know why the principles in His word, were not working. In a sense I wanted to blame Him. To accuse Him. I started speaking louder. “I have done everything!” I said.
While still pacing, I loudly talked to myself and to God. “I have done everything!” I again said. “I have prayed, man have I prayed.” “I pleaded and I nagged.” “Like the widow I was persistent.” “I confessed and I acquitted.” “I spoke the Word.” “I fasted!” Fasting was one of the points I was very proud to add to my imaginary list. “I made decrees and I broke curses.”
In my opinion I thought I have done my part, and now it was God’s turn to do His.
While I was still consumed with my accusations towards God. I heard this being spoken, “you only did that for yourself.”
I was stunned and silenced…
While I felt flabbergasted with God’s response, and as if time at that moment stood still, I re-lived a memory that happened a few days prior. My eldest daughter asked me how many gods there were. I first wanted to answer, many, as multiple names of gods flashed through my head. All the names of the gods of different religions. While I was still pondering this, Holy Spirit corrected my thinking. “There’s only one God”, He said. All of a sudden, I understood. All the names I thought of, where nothing more than idols. False gods. According to the Word there is only one God.
Anything we elevate to god status, will be nothing more than an idol.
So back to the day in my kitchen, and the words of God still ringing in my spirit. “You only did it for yourself.” And then He added, “you see, there’s two gods in your life, Firstly, the True and only God (I AM), and secondly (a demigod), you!”
As God started to unravel the tapestry of my actions I argued, “But I prayed.” For I have spent many hours in prayer, on my knees while others were asleep. “You only did that for yourself” He again stated.
What happened next would send chills down my spine. Without Him saying another word, I started to see my prayer life from His perception. Prayers prayed to change my situation. Prayers for a home, in order to have more comforts. Prayers for my ministry, to receive recognition from peers. To improve my marriage. To help my children. To aid my needs. To increase my business. To better my financial status. Prayers that would enrich my own kingdom. Prayers saturated with selfish motives. Shallow, monotonous and self-consumed. I was the lead character in each scene.
It was not necessary to see more.
“What about the times I fasted?” I asked after a while. I remembered my last fast and how at one stage my mom even suggested I break my fast due to health reasons. “I fasted” I told the Lord.
“you only did that for yourself” His answer remained unchanged.
Again, without warning I saw the motives behind my fasting. My decisions to fast was soaked with selfish intent. By fasting I wanted to get what I wanted from God. It was never to seek a deeper and more meaningful relationship with Him. I could not argue, for I knew I was guilty.
Later on, Lord Holy Spirit would reveal to me that when we fast for the wrong reason or motive, it’s nothing more than a Hunger strike. The word grabbed my interest and I wanted to study the meaning thereof.
This is how it’s defined on Wikipedia.
[A hunger strike is a method of non-violent resistance or pressure in which participants fast as an act of political protest, or to provoke feelings of guilt in others, usually with the objective to achieve a specific goal]
These were indeed hard words to read. For I realized just how I tried to use my “Righteous deeds” to manipulate the hand of God. Unaware to me I was taking part in a protest action to provoke feelings of guilt.
How could I have been so blind. Every argument brought down and crumbled at my feet. Each one of my actions, in my mind formed a beautiful tapestry, which were now unravelled.
Even though I had no more interest to debate, God continued to show me the heart behind each of the items on my now revolting list. There remained no dispute. Like visions flashing through my mind, the truth of my actions accused me.
Soon after, an immense feeling of guilt covered me. I questioned everything. As if I have always lived a lie. Like nothing made sense anymore. I felt like such a fraud. Was my entire Christian walk nothing more than a show? God however surprised me with His immeasurable compassion. The reason why He showed me all these things were not to condemn me, but instead to set me free. Truth carries the keys required to unlock the doors that imprison us. And I desperately needed to be freed from the strongholds in my mind.
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but powerful through God for the pulling down of strongholds.
2 Cor 10:4
Error is cast down when we earnestly seek truth. We are each warring against deception in our belief, religion and our ignorance towards the truth.