New Heart

I was thinking about our hearts last night.  How God moves in when we accept Him as Lord and Savior, but He doesn’t end there.  He wants all of our heart.

He promises to give us a new heart, but not by force.

We can look at the Old Testament and know God never forced the Israelites.  He asked things of them, He was tough, but what He really wanted was a willing heart.

I accepted Jesus going into junior high.  He pursued me, and asked other believers to speak life over me.  Something has never felt so right as the moment of being baptized and identifying with Christ.  That was the beginning.

I struggled later with salvation, and wrestled with things that I wasn’t sure Christians should be struggling with.  Legalism, guilt, shame, fear of not being forgiven, and just down right scared of failing God.  I had little trust in people, which translated into a fear with God-could I trust Him?  Could I let Him in?  Was I safe?  Was He going to destroy me once He knew my heart and my fears?  Could I let Him have these hurts in my heart?  Would He use them against me?

Would He love me still?

I wasn’t sure if He was kind or good.

But I can assure you, He knows my every secret, failure, and fear.

He loves me still.  He is so kind.  He is so good.  He will not use your pain against you.  But He will use it.  And when you let Him into those places of your heart, the pressure falls off of you and you can rest in the fact that He is the one who has held our life together all along.

And that truth is what is beginning to pull me out of those places I’ve lived.

Give Him more of your heart, ask Him to help you, allow people to speak truth over you in those times, and He will take care of our hearts better than we ever could.

*Counseling was also an essential piece of this awakening.  Hurts I thought would swallow me whole, could not, and I was reminded every time I went to counseling this was the right way.  Opening up, letting it out, and letting HIM move in.

Love perfected

Paul prays it for us in Ephesians 3:19, “… to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge…”.

John lays out in 1 John 4: 7-12, “Love is from God, God is love, Jesus-the epitome of God’s love in flesh, that God loved us, calls us to love others, and in all that His love is perfected in us.”

To know Gods love is to give it away.  Believing He will still fill us up at the end of a hard day, with hard people to love, and that He will do it again tomorrow.

I’ve been fearful.  Stingy with my love at times.  Afraid I didn’t have enough to give out.  But slowly I’m trusting, this perfecting, that God will refill me.   But that requires some practices on my part, like praying for others, so my heart softens and changes towards them.  Praying for patience with my littles.  Praying the Holy Spirit shows up for me, because I am not able to love in a way God has for me.  It is beyond me.

I love Ephesians 3: 19 says “…and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge.”   I love more that this is Paul’s prayer.  He understood what it took for us to know Christ’s love for us.  It has little to do with us, we don’t have to organize perfect prayers, just honest ones. Like we need Him.  We can’t do this thing on our own.  It is impossible without Him.

As we pray, I’m challenging myself to look less for the answers, and more for where God is showing up in this mess.  I’ve focused hard on the answers for so long, instead of the One with all the answers.

Love is perfected:

  1. as we get to know our Savior’s love for us through:
    1. Prayer
    2. Reading His Word
  2. as we love our neighbor:
    1. without expectation
    2. with anticipation of God showing up and making His love known

Life goal: to know His Love for me, because it will undoubtably pour out.

Patience

…in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.” (Luke 8:15)

This gospel lived out is not fast-paced.  It can be, and might feel that way at first, but there’s a deepening, a patience as God slowly gets the junk out of our hearts so He can move in.  I think this is what it means to have a honest and good heart-it’s where He moves in.

This past week I cut down our myrtle tree.  It had a bug in it last summer and needed to be “pruned.”  I’m the worst gardener, I can’t grow much, but I did prune.  And three days later, after a good rain, our myrtle tree started blooming.  It might not be as big this year, but it will be healthy.  I will patiently watch it grow and flower this year.  Knowing next year it will grow and bloom even more.

In this passage, the person with fruit didn’t just produce it quickly but patiently, waiting, praying.

Patience, a word spread all throughout the Bible.  It is a word repeatedly coming to mind the past day.

What does patience look like in your life?

I realized that patience looks different sometimes for me, but with the same undertone. I lack patience with myself to grow and change, as well as with others.  I want things to be instantaneous.

I don’t think this impatience is necessarily wrong, but it is definitely misplaced.

God instantaneously changes us the moment we are saved.  He sees us as Jesus, His Beloved Son.  Healed.  Complete.  Whole.  Perfect.  Not because of anything we have done, but because who we now identify with.  We need Jesus, and as we confess that truth He comes and lives within us, and God sees us differently.  He knows who we are, and our salvation is complete in the One who can truly save us.

He sees us faultless.  

“To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy.” (Jude 24)

As we live this life He is completely patient with us to realize who we are in Him.

Unbelievably patient.  Like we would have left us a long time ago.  But because He sees us as we truly are, He never quits.  Never doubts.  Never walks away.

He slowly, tenderly walks with us and helps us.  We’d be wise to ask for that help today, instead of trying to bulldoze our own path.  And maybe asking Him to help us be aware of the changes He’s already made in us.

Let Patient Love fall all over you today.