Photo by Robert Metz on Unsplash
I have walked beside hundreds and hundreds of women on this journey. There are several telltale signs that I have noticed that I want to share with you. When I see these indicators beginning to unfold in someone’s life, it means that God is at work, opening her eyes and preparing her heart. It also means that things are about to get beautiful!
This is often a progression that happens in steps over time.
The woman (or man):
- Stops blaming other people, making excuses for, or justifying her sin and takes full responsibility for things she has done wrong. She admits that she is a sinner. A wretched sinner. Completely unable to be “good enough” to pass God’s standard of perfect holiness on her own. She acknowledges that she deserves to be separated from God because of her sin.
- For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Rom. 3:23
- For the wages of sin is death… Rom. 6:23a
- Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Rom. 7:24
- Genuinely grieves over her sins, seeing just how great a debt she owes to Jesus and just how unimaginably holy God is and how He can’t tolerate any sin in His presence at all.
- Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. James 4:8-10
- Wants God’s cleansing, healing, His new life, and a close relationship with the Lord.
- On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” John 7:37-38
- For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus, our Lord. Rom. 6:23
- Begins to grasp the overwhelming magnitude of the unconditional, divine love of Christ specifically for her and His goodness toward her, in spite of her wretched condition. Jesus left heaven and all of His glory in order to come rescue her, while she was still in rebellion against Him. He loved her with a love that is beyond human ability to fathom. She sees that there is no greater love in all the universe than the love of Jesus for His people. All other love begins to look faded and tarnished in comparison.
- But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Rom. 5:8
- But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved. Eph. 2:4-5
- That you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Eph. 3:17-19
- Humbles herself greatly before the Lord, realizing her total dependence on God’s provision.
- And you were dead in the trespasses and sins. Eph. 2:1
- For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Eph. 2:8-9
- Understands that only the perfect, finished work of Jesus on the cross can make her right with God in God’s sight. She begins to see that He lived the perfect life she could never live in her place. He died the death she deserved for her sin. He conquered sin, death, and hell on her behalf. He offers her eternal life after this life is over and abundant spiritual life in this world! God allows her to make a great exchange. Her sinfulness for Jesus’ holiness and righteousness. Her utter spiritual bankruptcy for Jesus’ overflowing spiritual abundance. Jesus’ death for her life. So God counts all that Jesus did as if she did those things when she receives the gift of Christ and His salvation. When God looks at her, He sees Jesus’ perfection.
- Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. Rom. 5:9-10
- Realizes that Jesus is the Greatest Treasure in the universe – and nothing else comes anywhere close to His worth. She is willing to give up everything to have Him. No sacrifice seems too great.
- “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” Matt. 13:44
- Desires to die to her old self – to her sinful nature, to her sinful desires, to her old human way of thinking, and to this world.
- And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.“ Luke 9:23
- We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. Rom. 6:6
- Receives her new identity in Christ and God’s truth about her new status.
- We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. Rom. 6:4
- There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Rom. 8:1
- But God… raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Eph. 2:6
- Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Cor. 5:17
- Hungers for God, His Word, and the kingdom of God. Has a healthy spiritual appetite for confession of sin, prayer, reading the Bible, praising and thanking God, and fellowship with the Body of Christ.
- O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. Ps. 63:1
- “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.“ Matt. 5:6
- Becomes teachable and ready to absorb and receive God’s truth, spiritual healing, and provision.
- Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Prov. 3:5-6
- Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. James 4:10
- Wants to do whatever it takes to be as close as possible to God, not to earn salvation or to get other things she wants, but just out of gratitude and love for the Lord – no matter the personal sacrifice involved. She wants to obey God – even if it means giving up previous priorities, time, money, sins, and completely changing her lifestyle to please the Lord.
- Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” John 14:23
- Accepts God’s Word as truth rather than her feelings, past experiences, past teaching in her life, the culture, and personal perception/wisdom.
- Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. John 17:17
- All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. 2 Tim. 3:16
- Seeks the Lord wholeheartedly even if no one else does, even if it is lonely. Even if her husband, her family, her children, or her friends don’t understand and don’t want to change like she does.
- Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matt. 10:37
- Desires God’s will far above her own knowing there is no other place she would rather be.
- “Not my will, but yours, be done.” Luke 22:42
- Trusts God – or determines that she wants to learn to trust God – and has new-found faith that God’s way will be best. Her fears begin to melt away.
- For we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Cor. 5:7
- There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. 1 John 4:18
- Knows that God is good and understands God’s character as He reveals Himself in the Bible.
- No one is good except God alone. Mark 10:18
- Is willing to give up lies about God, others, and self and rebuild her life on the Solid Rock of God’s Word alone.
- “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.” Matt. 7:24-25
- Invites the Holy Spirit to have full control in her life. She fully yields to the Lordship of Jesus. She no longer wants her sinful nature to be in control, although she can still choose to act in the sinful nature. But now, she has the ability to choose to live in the Spirit! She begins to see the Fruit of the Spirit in her life.
- For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. Rom. 8:6
- But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Gal. 5:22-23
- Begins to experience the very divine love, grace, mercy of God for others in her life. She sees them with new eyes, with heavenly eyes. She can start to see their wounds and need for Jesus. And she can begin to extend the love, grace, and mercy of God that she received to others in every day life. She becomes a fruitful instrument for God’s Kingdom.
- For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Gal. 5:14
- I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5
When I see these things happening, I know that God is transforming someone by the power of His Spirit. And I know that He is going to do something glorious that will bring much honor to Himself and much good to the person and the kingdom of Christ. It brings me such joy to watch God miraculously changing and healing people!
We can’t open anyone else’s eyes spiritually. We can’t even open our own eyes. We are totally dependent on Your Spirit to resurrect people’s souls from death to new life in Jesus. We invite You into this place and into each of our hearts. We invite You to breathe Your eternal and abundant Life into our souls. We invite Your Spirit to work in mighty ways and to bring salvation to many who didn’t know You before. And we invite You to continue Your good work, as You have promised You would, in those who know You already. We yield ourselves completely to Your Lordship! We long only for more and more of You – Your goodness, Your presence, Your love, Your healing, Your transformation for each of us to make us more like Jesus.
Thank You for the incredible gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. Thank You for loving us so much more than we could ever comprehend! Give us eyes to see and ears to hear Your Words and Your love for us. Empower us to choose the narrow way that leads to Life.
What are some signs you have seen in your own life, or in other people’s lives, that help you know that God is very much at work?
How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ
How to Stay Filled with the Holy Spirit
A Prayer to Change the Spiritual Atmosphere in Our Homes – by Radiant
The Spiritual Healing Available to Each of Us in Christ – by Radiant
Stages of This Journey – to Become a Peaceful Wife
To me the hardest hurdle to jump over is my pride. It’s so easy to consider myself a “good person” in comparison to other people and justify my sins against them. It’s so very hard for me to humble myself enough to see my sin for what it truly is. I have had a tendency to want to punish others for their sins against me or at least see them “get what they deserve for mistreating me”. I tend to hang onto anger and resentment although I know it’s wrong. My heart lacks mercy and grace. It’s just awful. It’s like being trapped in a prison.
A big problem is that I believe in generational sin and have a deep-seated fear that because my father and grandfather were involved in masonic lodges (which are not of God at all), that I have inherited evil traits and demonic strongholds that would make it near impossible for God to transform me into a merciful, forgiving and kind-hearted person.
Right here and now, I acknowledge that I have sinned greatly against others and against God and I declare that God has the power to break every stronghold in my heart and transform me into a merciful person. Please pray for me. I really want God to transform me and make me new.
I believe our pride is the biggest hurdle for all of us. The Bible talks about the “offense of the cross.” Meaning, we want to think we are good people on our own. That we don’t need Jesus and His cross. That our sin isn’t so bad and we can make up for our sin ourselves with our own attempts at self-righteousness rather than receiving Jesus’ righteousness.
Thank you for sharing this struggle and stronghold. Just acknowledging it is a HUGE step toward humility. And I praise God that you are repenting. Yes! Sin is a prison. Holding onto it is a snare and a trap.
There definitely can be generational sins. We can learn them from our parents. Or sometimes our parents indoctrinate us or speak curses or vows over us.
But you are exactly right! God has the power to break every stronghold in your heart and to transform you into a merciful person!
I believe that as we truly see God’s holiness and the magnitude of our sinfulness, we begin to appreciate the cost of Jesus’ blood more than ever. We can then be like the people who knew that they owed a huge debt to their creditor and when we are forgiven our debt, we can love God so much more, knowing that what we were forgiven was great! And when we have experienced such an expansive forgiveness and grace from God, then we cannot help but extend that same mercy and grace to others who sin against us. We realize that ultimately, their sin is against God, just like ours. When we have been forgiven “billions of dollars” it makes it easier for us to forgive others when they owe us “$120.” We know God will take care of the sin. Either the person will pay for it himself/herself forever in hell, or the person will repent and plead for the blood of Jesus to cover their sins and Jesus, Himself, will pay for it. Of course, we know that we deserve hell, too. And we are so grateful for Gods’ mercy. And we pray for others who sin against us to also find God’s forgiveness, healing, and mercy, that they may be transformed by the power of Jesus for His glory,too.
Nikki is Your daughter, You have already begun a good work in her. I praise and thank You that You will continue the good work until completion in her life as You promise to in Your Word! I pray for You to give her eyes to see the extent of her own sin against You. And to see the even greater extent of Your grace, mercy, and forgiveness to her. I thank and praise You that You will absolutely set her free from this sin of pride, condemnation to others, and self-righteousness. I praise and thank You that You will absolutely conform her to the image of Christ and develop in her Your Spirit of mercy, forgiveness, kindness, compassion, and grace. We can’t wait to see all that You will do in her life for Your glory!
God bless you, Nikki. I pray for God to do a mighty work in you. And me, too, as I also struggle with a lack of mercy and grace for my husband who is hurting and lost and is lashing out at the one person he knows will take it – me. I want him to get what he deserves and I have a very “eye for an eye” mentality about it at the present time. I know it’s not healthy but I’m having a hard time letting go of this anger that is only hurting me and has no impact on him other than to drive him further from me (who wants to be around an angry person all the time?). May both of us experience the freedom from this stronghold and extend mercy and grace to those around us. In Jesus’ name.
And thank you, April, for timely wisdom. I see myself in many of these traits you list because I’ve grown a lot through my recent experiences but there are few remnants of my old self still hanging on and Nikki’s comment really resonated with me. I appreciate what you are doing with this blog – it’s helped me see a lot about myself that needed to be changed. And in the end, that’s the only person I can change. The rest is up to our mighty God!
Gary Thomas makes a statement in “Sacred Marriage” that goes something like this, “We are most tempted to sin when we are being sinned against.” The more spiritually wounded someone is, the more likely he/she is to lash out and hurt others. It is humanly impossible to extend grace in a situation like that. But with God, it is possible.
I’m not sure if you saw my post about “Influencing an Unbelieving Husband for Christ,” but that may be a blessing.
I also want to be sure that if you are in any danger, if you are dealing with uncontrolled mental health issues, if there is unrepentant adultery going on, any major addictions, or if you are being abused, that you know it is a good thing to reach out for experienced help. I can get you the name of a counselor I trust who can do Skype calls, if you are interested.
We come together to lift up Tammy and her husband to the throne room of heaven. We invite You to do all that You desire to do in Tammy’s heart and life – to heal and cleanse her. And in her husband’s heart and life – to lift him from the snare and pit where he is so miserable, onto the Solid Rock of new life in Jesus. Thank You for what You are doing in Tammy’s heart. Thank You for her desire to be more like Christ. Transform her thinking and her spiritual vision to see like You see and to be a useful instrument of healing in Your hand. Reach her husband in ways that only You can reach him. Flood this marriage and family with Your Spirit, Your favor, Your blessing, and Your victory over all of the enemy’s evil plans to steal, kill, and destroy.
Much love, my precious sister!
It means a lot to me that my comment resonated with you. It’s so good that we have this forum to share our struggles and feel less alone.
The “eye for an eye” mentality only makes you angry and miserable. I know that fully well. It’s just awful. It’s a lie and a trap of satan.
The truth is that I always felt like a “freak of nature” for having struggles with anger. I felt so alone and sad in my pain. I thought that I was a hopeless case who could never be set free. I used to be miserable and angry all the time. I kept losing friends and could never keep a boyfriend for long because as you said no one wants to be around an angry person all the time. Bit by bit, God has been opening my eyes to my pride and my sin and setting me free. I’ve come a long way and I know I have a long way to go still.
I pray that we will humble ourselves enough so that God can work on our hearts and give us loving, forgiving and merciful hearts that have no place for bitterness or anger.
WOOHOO! Isn’t it awesome to know that none of us are beyond God’s reach or His healing? SO thankful for what He is doing in your life!
As soon as I surrendered control in a situation in my marriage, God immediately began working! It was literally days after The Holy Spirit convicted me of not allowing my husband to lead us spiritually and I broke down because of my rebellion (God had been telling me for some time to let go and let Him work in my husband), that my husband heard a word from God to go on a mission trip. Now, it has been a slow process, at least 3 years, but I have been amazed at watching God transform my husband. One night I awoke from a deep sleep with Isaiah 43:19 seared into my mind: “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and springs in the desert.” Wow, what a sweet hope He gave me to just rest and trust in Him. So I guess for me, surrender to His plan and His way has been the catalyst that is leading to something great I know He has in store for us.
I love this! Thank you so very much for sharing what the Lord has been doing in you. I praise and thank Him for all that He has done, all that He is doing now, and all that He will reveal in the future for His glory in your life and your husband’s life!
Yes, absolutely, when we are willing to yield in full surrender to Him, that is a huge catalyst that opens the channels for Him to begin to do big things in our lives. We miss so many blessings, answers to prayer, and miracles when we refuse to surrender our will to Him. May we realize that absolute surrender to the Lordship of Christ is the BEST place to be in the universe!
Hi April, yes, much truth here, esp. the part about the pride. It seems to be the hardest thing to get past esp. when there is great failure or repeated failure in one’s life.
I remember reading once that a famous pastor, possibly Spurgeon, used to suffer from depressions. He came to regard the bouts of depression as a “prophet in rough clothing” because of their always preceding a move of the Spirit or some accomplishment.
Sometimes it seems that all hell breaks loose before there is a breakthrough or answer to prayer, and the sense of spiritual pressure or oppression can really push back and increase to unbearable levels.
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