Revive Our Hearts Podcast

More Than Calling Him Lord

Leslie Basham: In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus asked, “Why do you call Me Lord yet you don’t do what I say?” Andrea Griffith says that’s still an important question.

Andrea Griffith: I think if Jesus showed up in our churches today, that would be the same thing He would be saying to us.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Wednesday, April 29, 2015.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: This week we’re going to hear the story of a young woman who appeared to be a model churchgoer. Yet eventually her actions caught up with her sinful heart. I believe the story we’re going to hear over the next few days will provide hope for anyone who is struggling with bitterness or with guilt over sins of their past.

We’re going to listen to a message from my friend Andrea Griffith. Andrea served for several years on the staff of Life Action Ministries, which is the parent organization for Revive Our Hearts. Her husband Trent is now the pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel in the South Bend, Indiana, area.

Andrea will join us this September for the conference, Revive '15: Women Teaching Women. She’ll be part of a special pre-conference session for anyone who wants to learn more about being an effective speaker. So as you listen to Andrea, ask yourself: Do I have a story I could share just like her, as Andrea has shared hers? Could the Lord use my story if I were to share it with others?

And then plan on joining us in Indianapolis September 25–26 for Revive '15: Women Teaching Women. It’s a great opportunity to learn how to dig into God’s Word for yourself and then effectively sharing it with others: one on one, in small groups, or maybe even before larger groups of women.

For details on Revive '15, visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

Let’s listen to Andrea’s story about God’s power to revive a heart. Andrea is beginning with Psalm 103.

Andrea:

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s (vv. 1–5).

I want to tell you today how God has done every one of those things in my life.

I grew up in a Christian home. My dad was a deacon and a Sunday school teacher. My mom was always right there along his side. I thought that I prayed a prayer of salvation when I was six years old.

I remember walking an aisle. I remember meeting with the pastor. He talked with me and made sure I understood and that everything I was saying I believed. But I never really noticed a change in my life. I guess I just always thought, Well, when you’re six, you don’t have a whole lot to repent from. You don’t have a whole lot to change from. But that heart attitude of repentance as I got older, I never really saw that heart attitude being lived out in my life.

As far back as I can remember, I was always very deceitful. I’ve always struggled with being a people pleaser, wanting people’s approval, but at the same time, I wanted my own way. So in order to get bothto have people’s approval of me and get my own wayI would just lie and then cover it up. That way I got both. I got my own way, and they just never knew.

When I was little, those little lies had pretty small consequences, but the older I got, the bigger the consequences became with those lies. It was really a pattern of my life that I would just lie about everything just to cover my tracks, to cover my bases.

As I was growing up there in my church, I was a leader in the church youth group. We were always there every time the doors were open. If you were to ask the pastor, “Tell me a family in your church that’s solid,” he would have pointed to my family.

I was on the youth counsel, singing solos in churchjust very, very involved. But in my heart, I was a very different person than what people were starting to see on the outside.

When I grew up and became a teenager, my parents had pretty strict rules on us about dating and that kind of thing. So I waited a long time until I was able to date, but once I was able to date, I just thought, I’m going to date whoever I want to datethe most popular, it didn’t matter to me. I knew that I was only supposed to marry a Christian, but I thought, That shouldn’t stop you from dating non-Christians, right?

So as I got into my junior year of high school, there was one particular guy that I really had my eye on. Now, he didn't grow up in a Christian home; he didn’t grow up in a Christian family. He didn’t know the Word of God like I did. As we began to date, I began to involve myself with him in immorality, and that became a pattern for our dating relationship.

It wasn’t too long after that that I found out I was pregnant. I remember thinking, I’m one thing up frontI’m singing in church. I’m one thing on the outside, and I am someone totally different in my heart and where it matters before the Lord.

I look at that time in my life and just seeing God, in His gracious, sovereign way, giving me a chance to come clean and get honest about who I really was in my life, but I wasn’t going to get honest quite that easy. I was still wanting to cover. I was still wanting to lie my way through these kinds of things.

I was going to give it a shot, so I invited this young man over to my house for dinner, and that night my mom had invited the director of the local crisis pregnancy center over for dinner. I think that she was probably trying to have him share his heart with us so we would know not to involve ourselves with that kind of thing. I think that was her goal and her motive, but given the condition that I was already in (this is not at all what they said), but what I heard was how terrible those girls are who are involved in immorality before they’re married; their lives will never amount to anything; it’s over for them.

That’s not what they said. That’s just what I heard given the condition I was in. So I left my house and I went and sat out at a pier overlooking Mobile Bay, and I decided that I would have an abortion.

I knew that was wrong. I knew that wasn’t just a piece of tissue but that was a child. My mom worked at the local crisis pregnancy center, but in my pride, I wanted to cover and try to keep a reputation.

I did go through with that decision, and when I did, not only did my baby die, but I began to harden my heart and to hate and despise who I was and what I’d done. That was the beginning for me of a very long downhill spiral for my life.

The Bible talks a lot about these people. In James chapter 1, verse 22, it says: “But prove yourselves doers of the Word, not merely hearers who deceive themselves.”

Do you see what that verse says? That verse is telling us that we can sit in church Sunday morning after Sunday morning. We can hear it and hear it and hear it, but if we don’t obey it, we are deceiving ourselves.

I know, because I was one of the most self-deceived people walking the planet. I thought because I knew it, therefore I was it, and I was okay. It didn’t matter what I was doing; I was okay. If I knew it, I was okay. I had deceived myself to the point that I couldn’t even distinguish truth from lies anymore.

Paul talks about these people in 2 Timothy chapter 3. It says,

[They] have the appearance of godliness, but [they] deny its power. Avoid such people. . . . [They are] weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning but never able to arrive at the knowledge of the truth (vv. 57).

Have you ever been there? You learn it; you’re filling in the columns of your Bible; you’re taking the notes. You’re always learning. But you get home, or you get back to that work place, or you get somewhere in real life where the rubber meets the road, and you’re just constantly failing.

You learn it, and then you get out in real life, and it’s just failure. That was the pattern of my life for years–learning, but never able to live the truth in my life.

I went through four years of Christian college. I was being asked to sing in different places, and I’d go there and sing. I was involved in Bible studies; I was involved in the campus ministry there at my college. I was in a small group that I’d asked to be involved in, and I would do great with the Lord for a while. Then I was right back into that sin again, the sin of immorality.

In college I started drinking. I tried to pull myself up by my bootstraps and live the Christian life, and then I’d fail. That was the cycle of my life for years.

About the time I was about to graduate from college with a music degree, and I really had no idea what I was going to do with it. My parents had just sat through a Life Action two-week Summit. So I came home from college at Christmas, and I said, “I don’t know what I’m going to do with this degree.”

My dad said, “Why don’t you audition for this ministry? I know you would love to sing and travel with them.”

So I auditioned for Life Action, and I just see God’s sovereign hand opening the door for me to a place where I could really get some help and meet with Him.

When I got to Life Action, I looked pretty much like the other girls. I dressed as modestly as they did, and we had our quiet times about the same amount of times. I looked outwardly the same, but I started noticing this huge difference in our hearts.

Where my attitude toward authority was just like, “Oh, whatever;” if authority told them something, they were going to do it. Where I may have a desire for purity, I certainly wasn’t going to put myself out to get it. But these girls, they had a desire for purity, and they were making sure that was happening in their life.

I started noticing these differences in our hearts. I remember one morning I was up, and I was having my time with the Lord. I was regularly in the Word. I was having my time with the Lord, and God clearly spoke to my heart, and He said, “Andrea, if you do not get open and honest about your past and where you’ve been, we are going no further.”

That scared me to death because I knew that He was my only way out. If He wasn’t going to help me, I was in big trouble.

That morning I went to church, and I found the revivalist’s wife, and I told her basically what I’ve just told you. She cried with me and prayed with me, and she set up a time for me to meet with her and her husband.

That very first time that I met with this couple, God and this man literally nailed me to the walljust with the questions he was asking and the Scripture he was quoting. He nailed me to the wall. And you know what? I needed it because I was such a good liar, and I had always been able to squirm my way out of situations. This time there was no getting around it what the Lord was revealing to me about my heart.

I remember I got up out of their trailer, and I didn’t know where I was going or what I was doing, but I just had to leave that trailer. So I got up out of that trailer, and I came into the church, and I just found the prayer room. I got quiet and still before the Lord.

I don’t really know how better to describe it than just to say God showed up in that prayer room, and for the first time, I saw my heart the way a holy God had been seeing it for years. I saw how my sin had broken His heart and how I was just blatantly sinning against that God who had died on the cross for my sin. For the first time, I couldn’t justify it or rationalize it away as the light of God shone in on my heart.

I didn’t know what was happening because I thought I was saved. I thought I got saved when I was six years old. So I didn’t know what to do. I just thought this was another experience with God. So I just started at the top of my head, and I went all the way down to my feet, and I just gave God every part of me. I had sinned so much with my body that I needed to put my body under the authority of Christ and under His Lordship.

God showed me my heart that day. It was so wicked and so ugly. I hope that I never have to see that again. Now God shows it to me, but it’s small, and it’s specific, and God says, “Okay, now we need to deal with this, and let’s deal with this attitude.” But that day, it was everything, and I was just undone before Him.

I remember staying in that prayer room for hours. I got there probably about 2:30. I missed our team meeting at 4:00. I missed dinner. I missed the service, as I was just in that room, weeping before the Lord as He brought back situation after situation to my mind.

I left the prayer room that day and went on home to the host home where I was staying, and I slept like a rock. I woke up the next morning, and my face was still swollen. I came back into the church. My job was to be the hostess. I was to set out the snacks and the drinks so when the people had a break, they would have something to eat.

When I got to the church, there had been a miscommunication, and the church had not bought the food that I was supposed to set out. So I grabbed some car keys, and I got into the car, and I raced down to the grocery store. I was pushing the grocery cart and listening to the music overhead and kind of singing along, and all of a sudden a voice spoke to my heart and said, “Andrea, are those your ears that you’re listening to that music with? Are those your lips that you’re singing along with?”

I said, “No, Lord. Those are Yours. I gave those to You last night, didn’t I?”

I was walking through the checkout counter, and I was looking at all the magazines there, and again, a voice said, “Andrea, are those your eyes that you’re looking at that filth with?”

I said, “No, Lord. Those are Yours. I gave those to You last night.”

I know I must have had this shocked look on my face as I’m talking to this checkout lady. But for the first time, true Christianity was happening in my life. God spoke, and I just had to obey. It wasn’t me trying to live this life, and failing, and trying and failing. It was me being in tune with a holy God who was speaking to my heart, and I just had to obey.

As I look back on that timeit took me six months to realize thisbut that day in the prayer room was my point of salvation. That’s when I came to know the Lord.

There’s a difference that shows up even right here in these verses. When Paul went around preaching the gospel, he said, “[I preach two things:] I preach repentance toward God; and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21).

Well, I’d had faith that Jesus was the Son of God for years. Growing up here in the South, you hear those stories from the time you’re knee high to a grasshopper. We’ve heard it. We’ve been in church all our lives. I had faith that Jesus was the Son of God.

But do you know where I’d missed it totally? Repentance. Repentance is a change of mind. It’s a change of direction. As the pitcher throws that baseball as hard as he can in one direction, when that bat hits that baseball, do you know what the ball does? It repents. (Laughter) Another force acts on the ball. The force of God, the force of His Holy Spirit impacts our lives, and we can’t help but head in a different direction.

There’s another verse that saysJesus was talking, and He says, “Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven will enter” (Matt. 7:21).

Do you hear the difference? One is calling Him Lord with our mouths; one is obeying Him as Lord with our lives. I had been calling Him Lord for years. You see this problem from the Old Testament all through the New.

In the Old Testament, God said, “These people draw near to Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me” (Isa. 29:13 paraphrased).

Jesus says only the one who does the will of His Father will enter the kingdom of heaven. Do you see the difference? One is calling Him Lord; the other is obeying Him as Lord. Which category do you fit in today?

It’s easy to fit in the one where we call Him Lord. We get the stamp; we get the label, but the life never changes. Which one will enter the kingdom of heaven? Only the one who does the will of God; only the one who obeys. It’s a lifestyle of obedience to God, not a lifestyle of just lip service.

At the end of the Sermon on the Mount, in Luke chapter 6, verse 46, Jesus looks at the crowd of people,  “Why do you call Me, 'Lord,' and do not do what I say?” (NASB).

I think if Jesus showed up in our churches today, that would be the same thing He would be saying to us: “Why do you call Me ‘Lord,’ but you don’t obey Me as Lord?”

Jesus was saying that to me for years of my life, and I was never hearing Him, never listening. I just kept thinking that my Christianity didn’t satisfy. So I kept running to those artificial substitutes to satisfy.

But it wasn’t that my Christianity didn’t satisfy. It was that I didn’t have true Christianity. People will say to me, “Isn’t it enough just for me to call Him ‘Lord’? Does it matter how I live as long as I just call Him ‘Lord’?”

I say, “Yes, it matters how you live!”

That word Lord is more than a word. It indicates a relationship, His total possession of me and my total submission to Him. That’s salvation. That is Him being Lord of our lives.

After I came to know the Lord, everything in my life changed. I could not get enough of God’s Word. Literally, this Word leaps off the page at me. There’s a quote that says, “Your Word has hands; it lays hold of me. It has feet; it runs after me.” That’s what started happening in my life, and that’s still happens to me when I get with the Lord in His Word.

Nancy: We’ve been listening to the story of Andrea Griffith. Perhaps you can relate to some of her testimony. You’re good at keeping up appearances, but you’ve never fully surrendered your life to the Lord. I hope you’ll do what Andrea did: Get honest about your sin, confess it to the Lord, and find someone in your church who can help you grow.

Over the next couple of days, Andrea is going to show us the process that the Lord took her through after that initial moment of surrender. She needed to clear her conscience, and she needed to give and receive forgiveness, and she needed to embrace a lifestyle of holiness.

It’s not just Andrea. Every one of us needs to go through these steps.

I’ve written about this process in a workbook called Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival. I want to encourage you to get a copy and work through this process in your quiet time.

This will be a great opportunity to let God evaluate your heart and to embrace surrender and brokenness in a whole new way and to experience the freedom that comes from being right with God and right with others as well.

Seeking Him is a twelve-week study that you can do on your own or, better yet, with a group of friends who want to experience that reality of personal revival along with you.

We’d love to send you a copy of the workbook Seeking Him when you send a donation of any size to Revive Our Hearts. I can’t encourage you enough to start through the process as Andrea did of seeking the Lord and experiencing the joy of letting God revive your heart.

Leslie: We look forward to sending you the workbook Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been describing. Ask for Seeking Him when you call 1–800–569–5959, or make your contribution at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Today’s guest, Andrea Griffith, will be participating in the Revive Our Hearts Listener Blog today, tomorrow, and Friday. That means you can ask Andrea a question or tell her how her story affected you. Just scroll to the end of today’s transcript at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Andrea will be back again tomorrow to tell us about the next step in her journey.

Andrea: The other thing that God wanted to do in my life was give me a clear conscience. Having a clear conscience is basically being able to say that there’s no one alive, if I’ve hurt or wronged them, that I’ve not gone back and made it right.

Now, my clear conscience list was a mile long! I had so many kids in my youth group that I needed to call and seek their forgiveness. I had professors in college that I’d cheated on tests in their class that I needed to call and seek their forgiveness. My parentsI had talked to them about all of my past, but now I had a new view of how I’d hurt them, and I had to call them and seek their forgiveness.

My clear conscience list was a work in progress, and, honestly, it still is, just to keep a short sin account. When God brings that person across my path that I can seek their forgiveness and say, “Man, I really blew it here. Can you forgive me?”

In my family, I had to ask my daughter’s forgiveness this morning. She said something, and I snapped back at her, and God’s Spirit was just all over my heart. I had to say, “Brooke, will you please forgive me? That was so wrong?” Just keeping that short sin account, having a clear conscience before people.

Not only did I have to clear up my past, but because I was such a good liar (I would just lie all the time) I had to clear up my present. So what I did is if I would lie or exaggerate, I would look right at the person, and I would say, “I just lied to you. Will you please forgive me?”

After you humiliate yourself like that, it becomes a whole lot easier just to tell the truth! I’m lying to get their approval, and if I have to go back and tell them I lied, it becomes a whole lot easier just to tell the truth in the first place.

Leslie: A portrait of personal revival on the next Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture has been taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

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