THE HEART OF A BELIEVER
Ps.27: 7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me.8 When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.
(Please read all of Psalm 27)
Matt.6: 19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Matt.6: 24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
When we use the term “heart” as it pertains to things of the Spirit we are not referring to the human organ that pumps blood. It refers to the inner man. It is the spirit that is you and that which you think and that which controls you and that which you are. It is unseen and really cannot be known except by God and to a lesser degree you. It is your heart that will dictate how you think about things and how you speak and how you will act.
Now before you were saved your heart was completely wicked. Even any good deeds you did were done because it made you feel good to do them. It was all a ministry to yourself. In fact you were your own god and religion was just another way to pad your resume. But to please God we must seek Him diligently and we cannot do that without a change of heart.
We can read all the wonderful theologies about what happened to us when we were reborn, however that does not automatically translate into a broken and contrite heart. To walk in the Spirit requires much more than a correct theology. To be dead to self and alive unto God is a sacred path which I believe is plowed by prayer, planted by God’s Word, and then watered by both the Word and prayer.
So once again I submit that we as western believers know more about Christ in our minds than can be found in our hearts. Theology without a new heart made into His likeness and translated into thoughts, words, and deeds is just theology. Vitamins that are still in the bottle are useless to our health. The change we need begins in the heart and then works its way out into every area of our lives. And when our hearts are changed we often think and speak and do what the Spirit directs rather than having to debate and wonder. And this post is about a changed and malleable heart which is submitted to the will of the Spirit and to the things of Christ. And in that pursuit we turn once again to the sacred place called prayer.
The church has for so long downplayed the importance of prayer and practiced it with so little sacrifice and passion that most believers do not even understand what a passionate prayer life looks like. A fifteen minute verbal prayer spoken over a breakfast coffee is considered vibrant. Or a score of sentences spoken while driving is the usual multi-task exhibition of prayer. How many believers go to a place apart from distractions and literally agonize in prayer? How many have no consideration of time or schedule or phone calls when they go down into the sacred caverns of prayer? How many will take an entire day sometime and just fast and pray and worship all day long? How many? You tell me.
But becoming a believer who prays with conviction and passion and whose walk in the Spirit is fueled by prayer is no easy task. You cannot just “make up your mind” and then go and do it. Like adhering to a diet only to falter so are many believers who sincerely wish to meet with God in a powerful and sacrificial way but who stumble and fall and remain defeated. This is a new day and a new year and our God is s forgiving and restoring God. What a Savior!
We will not “arrive” in prayer during the first week or the first month. In fact, prayer is a sacred journey of much labor and much reward. This is one of the few places that when we arrive we see even more land ahead of us. Even Paul said that he had not arrived but he pressed toward the mark of the high calling in Christ Jesus. And to fulfill that calling and please our Father we must pray earnestly. It must not be a perfunctory religious practice which seems benign and has no impact upon our lives.
The particulars can be worked out as the Spirit leads. But the initial question must always be are we hungry enough, and have we had enough of redundant Christianity which has no power and does not affect us on a daily basis? And are we still searching for Christ in a deeper way since we came to faith, or are we moored at the dock with the rest of the professing believers? And if you knew for sure that you could see and experience Christ more deeply than you could imagine, are you willing to sacrifice to find that sacred place? And the question that should make us tremble: How much in love with Jesus are we?
Please Lord Jesus, break our hearts completely this year and pour Yourself into them. Open our eyes to whatever displeases You, and use us to openly glorify Your Holy Name. We refuse to be satisfied with a life which only receives comfort through Your Words. We desire to be placed upon the Potter’s wheel and be molded into Your image. Strengthen us in our pursuit of meeting with You in prayer. We need nothing but You in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Amen.