I’m a little stymied this week. I’m a logic fanatic. I work and sift through everything I hear and read and observe, picking out the little particles of knowledge and sorting them so they go down easier and process more quickly. I do it with everything. I’m trying to do it right now with last week’s message.
The problem is, however, that it’s not a mind issue, it’s a heart issue. This isn’t one that I can split apart and diagram into essential nutrients for my spiritual growth. Ok, yes. Put off the things of the world and put on the things of above. Doing something. Action. Check. I want to keep layering up with good deed and intentions. But that’s not the heart of the matter. That’s not the emotional center where everything takes root and, in consequence, shapes and colors all that comes out. It’s not what truly drives and morphs and guides my world view and perspectives on life. My heart does.
But my heart has led me astray in the past. I don’t trust it – not for a second. I consider my emotions a volatile, unreasonable child that needs to be reined in, reasoned with, and, if it comes down to it, forcibly restrained. That’s why legalism and following the rules hold such appeal for me at times. I prefer the cut and dried, black and white. Empirically sound, repeatable cause and effect results gratify my analytical mind.
But my heart is the epicenter. I cannot deny it. I can’t just command it to respond to logic and reason. That’s why Paul laments that we do the things we do not want to do and the things that we do not want to do, we do! What untruths lie hidden and insidious below the surface, locked behind the doors of my heart that I haven’t been brave enough to uncover and throw open?
Do I have assurance of my salvation? If someone asks me if I will go to be with Christ when I die will I say, “I hope so” or “Yes, absolutely, not on my merit or anything I have done but only through the blood and righteousness of Christ. Yes, I am certain of God’s love for me, of my justification through the work Christ did on the cross, of the continued work of sanctification that the Holy Spirit is doing in me even now. I am simultaneously justified and a wretched sinner.”?
Someone I loved and trusted and made into an idol – an ultimate thing – discarded me. And up until this very moment when asked myself how I honestly feel about my assurance of my future in Christ did I realize that I am erroneously waiting for God to discard me, too. I didn’t recognize how deep that expectation of rejection clung. I didn’t comprehend how much the hurts I still hide and nurse in my heart have affected my thinking and being. Is that why I continue to strive and struggle with resting in grace? Is that part of my need to prove my worth and value, so I won’t be abandoned?
Lord! Oh! For the faith to believe! Remind me every second that I cannot do anything or be anything to make you love me more.
You already love me enough right now, just as I am.
May I believe that with all of my heart, mind, and intentions!
As I read through the passage again, I’m struck by love, peace, perfect harmony, and thankfulness. All of these things are an overflow of the depths from within. I can’t fake any of these. Absence of these in my heart and life belie the turbulence underneath – turmoil and disorder in my heart.
Seek the things that are above. Seek; an earnest searching, a quest, an active chase. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. Dwell; to remain, to put down roots and live, to tarry, to exist. Seek and dwell bookmark each end of the passage. Seek the things that are above by letting the Word dwell in your hearts.
Set your heart and mind and being on the person and work of Christ; on grace and atonement and perpetual saving by ruminating on the Truth.
Soak in it – let it pervade every thought and pore and intention.
The heart is where Christ works. The heart is his realm, his throne. The heart; the wellspring of life. We are loving beings, not just thinking beings. We are who we are because of what we love. What we desire and love speaks more of what we put our identity in than any words we convey. Our thoughts swell up out of our hearts and emotions. And, in turn, those thoughts channel and steer us on our way.
I want my heart – not just my mind – to remain rooted in what Christ has done for me, in my death with him, in God raising me to life with Christ, in the freedom I have from sin and shame because of that. “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” (Rom 10:9-10)
I want to live with my heart in the Light and the Truth and the Word. I want my heart to seek the things of above and dwell in that, completely saturated. Believe in my heart. Through faith. By grace. Seek and let dwell.
Based on Colossians 3:1-17
Check out the Identity Crisis message series at Discover Grace (http://discovergrace.com/messages/)