Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Matters of the Heart

I have been walking in circles of late. Wish I could say that the circles were ones of praise and thanksgiving, the ones walked by Joshua and his army in Jericho, as mentioned in my last post (a year ago), but alas, they are not. These circles are trenches of mud. Mud made by fears, anxious thoughts and sadness.

I knew I was stuck in the mud, I had even said those exact words to two different people. However, I did not know how caked the mud has gotten on my heart. That was until I lashed out at a stranger with my dragon's tail of a tongue!! Seriously, what kind of person does that?? I was completely unaware of my darkened heart, until I saw their eyes and the shock that was there. It truly felt as if someone had used a defibrillator on me...suddenly my true heart starting beating again and I immediately tried my best to apologize, but the damage had clearly been done.

I spent the next 3 days in complete remorse. I was embarrassed, ashamed, and, truthfully, scared out of mind at how dark my heart had gotten. This is not the type of person I want to be nor would have ever thought I could be. Three days of crying out for forgiveness and restoring of my heart. I even questioned if I truly believed that I was forgiven...the mud was thick.

I am sure there are some of you who think I am getting a little carried away here. You might even say, "You just spoke words out of impatience and anger...people do that all the time. What's the big deal? You really need to get a grip, they probably have already moved on..."

But here's the deal, all throughout the Bible, we are told that God looks upon man's heart.

 In Mark, we are told, "For from within, out of your hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile you" Mark 7:21-23

 Again, in Luke, "Good people bring good things out of the good stored up in their heart, and evil people bring evil things out of the evil stored up in their heart. For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks!" Luke 6:45

If we ignore the despair and sadness, anger and negativity, then we are making ourselves vulnerable for the enemy to set up camp. Even if there are legitimate reasons for our state of mind, we need to be attentive to our hearts.  I, personally, just sat down and kinda gave up in the mud that I had been circling in. It's easy to do, life gets hard and we get tired. (And a side note, we might start out in circles of praise and thanksgiving, but that doesn't mean it won't rain while we are marching around...mud eventually happens.) That is exactly when the enemy sees his chance to set up camp and wreck havoc.

Hannah More describes this in Religion of the Heart. In chapter 11, she discusses the topic of Comparatively Small Faults and Virtues. Here she describes a fishing net looking to catch the big sins, but allowing the littler ones to escape only to grow bigger. Her point is that we need to pay attention to the little vices in our hearts, lest "the infant becomes a giant!"

So, it is a big deal. With all that is going on in the world, our hearts HAVE to be set on things above!

Lent is the perfect time and I am more than grateful and not surprised that this happened at the beginning of this season of repentance. May we all be shocked with the defibrillator of the HOLY SPIRIT this season.

Create in me a pure heart, O God, 
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Psalm 51:10-12