Sunday, 12 April 2015

Matters of the Heart

Our deeds- whether good or bad indicate the condition of our heart. Jack Graham once said, “We need to examine ourselves because when we are stressed and sweating and under pressure, what’s on the inside will come out.” The bad attitude towards others, the feelings of giving up; or the continuous need to rebel against God all comes from a heart not at rest. A heart at rest loves and is obedient to God. It will manifest as joyous and peaceful. We can kid ourselves in trying to follow methods to make us good people, we can try to use several techniques; however if our hearts are not at rest our true nature will manifest. I recently found myself in that situation. I was angry towards people, filled with bitterness and strife! Whenever I saw them I would put a fake smile trying to be a nice person, but who was I kidding? The Lord knew my heart. I would come across a guy I’m attracted to and pretend that the attraction was not there, whereas in my heart the immorality had already taken place! And yet again, who was I kidding? Lustful feelings manifested into the natural regardless of how modest I try to be! I had to come to a place of honesty- a heart to heart, one to one- with the Father. “Lord, teach me how to carry myself with modesty because I am failing. Teach me how to forgive and see people through your eyes because it’s impossible on my own.” I don’t want to live my Christian life with a suppressed soul; I want the life of Christ to flow out of me. I cannot love my neighbour as I love myself but Christ can love him through me. I cannot control the attraction I feel towards a man, but Christ can teach me self-control to implement nothing further. That is the miracle of grace!

The Christian life is a continuous process of a heart renewal. Constantly we have to take some time out immersing ourselves in the presence of the Lord and allow him to melt our hardened hearts like wax.  Our hearts can become so hard in this process. Offenses, misunderstandings, confusion, and unbelief could deter us from the will of God. We find ourselves routinely doing religious activities but our hearts are hardened towards the living God. Hence the writer of Hebrews urged the brethren that “they see to it that none of them had a sinful unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God”. People wonder where the backsliding comes from. Believers who once were enlightened about the saving knowledge of Christ have turned their hearts against Him; they could not hold fast the confidence and the hope until the end. The Holy Ghost says, “I was grieved with that generation and said, They do always err in their heart; and they have not known my ways” (Hebrews3:10).  Errors such as immorality, un-forgiveness, substance abuse, and murder begin in a heart that is hardened towards the living God.

We live in a social network driven kind of life especially with our loved ones being all over the world. Our cell phones and just about anything can drive us away from spending time in the presence of the Lord and that matters. It’s not about the church meetings that one regularly attends, but the secret moments with God. If we publicize all our Christian activities without any secret treasure with the Lord, then we have nothing to fall upon. In the secret place Jesus becomes your treasure. You know that the enemy may take away your public life but you have a treasure unshakable deep in the realms of your heart. One can see people who spend time alone with God, His presence flows out of them and their hearts are at rest. They don’t need to try hard to be anything that they’re not instead they gaze into the image of their Father and are transformed from glory to glory! “There remainth therefore a rest to the people of God.”- Hebrews4:9

The bible says that there is no creature that is not made manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him we must give account. That includes the heart. People look on our outward behavior, but God looks on the intentions of the heart. Human beings judge by outward performances, but God judges the heart, weighs the spirit, and identifies the motive behind the performance. Therefore, all our good deeds should be a result of a heart separated unto God not pretense. I admit, seeing Christ’s life flow out of our hearts all the time is not a common experience especially with the temptations and cares of this world. In situations like that we strive to do the right biblical thing “love your neighbor”, “flee sexual immorality” even when we don’t feel like it. It’s a constant test and we can be assured that Jesus endured the same. He sympathizes with you, when nobody understands He does. He is a High Priest who was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin. He became the ultimate sacrifice, went into the heavens and ever lives to make intercession for us before the father, His blood pleading on our behalf!!

The bible says that if we sin willfully after the knowledge we received of the truth, then there is no sacrifice for us left. A hardened heart continues to sin willfully without any conviction, it’s a choice that one makes. Living as a child of God is not always going to be smooth because the enemy constantly tries to stir our hearts away from God. We have to make a choice to obey the word which says, “Let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” Let us take time in the busyness of this world to be alone with the Lord bearing our hearts open before Him. On desperate days, let us offer prayers and supplication with strong tears to the One who is able to save us from death! With patience and faith after doing the will of God, we will inherit the promises of God. The promises are not a spouse, or a new car, or more money- we get that twisted at times. The promise is a better and enduring substance and that is eternity with the True God.

We have to always align our hearts with the will of God. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”~ Jeremiah17:9.  It is from the heart where immorality, rebellion, backsliding and everything else occurs. People who were once on fire have been taken away from their devotion to the Lord because they were not careful enough to always give their hearts to the Lord. God has everything but our hearts is something we willingly give to Him. He will be a Shepherd to those who rely on Him. When the enemy comes in like a flood the Spirit will lift up a standard against him! He that trusts in the Lord will boldly proclaim, “The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me!”

“Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles us, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and loose heart.”~Hebrews12:1-3

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