To The Heart of It

Do you ever think about the times when you’re reading the Bible, and something you may have read dozens of times before just jumps out at you and makes you ponder it for a while?  That’s happened to me more times than I can count. It’s usually something which when read in context it seems mundane, yet when it suddenly jumps out, it actually goes along with something on my mind.

I started the Gospel of Luke a few nights ago, and came to the part when Mary and Joseph brought the Baby Jesus to the Temple, and there was a man there named Simeon who had been waiting for Messiah- and he prophesied over Jesus.

And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”  Luke 2:34-46

That the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed….

While most times I’d read that and think that it was describing the religious leaders, Pharisees and authorities at the time who were stirring up false charges against Jesus,  it hit me this time thinking of just how each and every heart since that day on have been revealed.

The Bible references “the heart” over 700 times.

The first reference can be found in Genesis 6:5, And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

The Book of Revelation has two references. 2:23 says,  And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth thereins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

And the last is Revelation 17:17  For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.

While the heart is described as foolish, impenitent, hard, deceitful…. Romans 5:5 says, And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

Shedding abroad means, “to pour forth, gush out, run greedily, to spill.”  So God takes our wicked hearts and pours out His love, mercy, kindness and forgiveness into them- into us. He also searches our hearts and will put into our hearts that which will fulfill His Will.  We also know He has used plenty of people to do His will while hardening their hearts to fulfill His purposes- Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar for examples.

So now where are my thoughts going with this?

Last week my rambling thoughts included going the extra mile, and treating those we don’t like with respect and decency, which is hard to do. But one thing I’ve learned over the years (when I practice what I preach!) is that it’s when it’s hard, and when you don’t want to- that’s when the blessings of obedience shine the brightest.

Last week I also shared a part of the story of Corrie Ten Boom with TX.

One of the most poignant parts of her book “The Hiding Place” is after it’s all over and she began to travel and speak about her experiences. One day she had just given a speech and afterwards a man came up to her smiling and thanking her for talking about it. He was friendly and smiling, but she knew who he was. One of the guards at the camp that her sister and she had been at and he had been a cruel guard. She knew she had to forgive him, but she just couldn’t. She prayed on the spot because she knew healing wouldn’t come without forgiveness and she didn’t have the strength to. But Jesus did- and gave it to her right then. She was able to take his hand, forgive him and let it all go.”

We can only show love, mercy, kindness and forgiveness because God has given us His portions of those qualities. It’s too hard for our hearts to do it on our own.   I know in my own life, how selfish, bratty and crabby I can be.  My heart most times reveals things about me I really don’t like. However, as I’ve been walking my faith more and more, my heart is also revealing a more closer relationship with my Lord and Savior and I find myself letting His heart be revealed instead.

It’s still not easy, and I slip up more times than not- but the fact remains that I am learning even if slowly, to let Him shed abroad His own spirit in my heart so others hopefully will see Him in me. And that’s when hearts begin to change.

We desperately need a heart change in our country, even especially among believers. It’s time to go that second mile for Jesus, and be obedient to His will, even when it’s hard or scary.

It’s easy to say we do, or to say we are, but then we give excuses about being works in progress, or still learning. I know we are- and we’ll always be until we’re called home, but let’s throw out the excuses and trust Him through every circumstance and let His heart shine through for the rest of our nation to see. For our families, friends and neighbors. I want His love and mercy revealed by my heart.

I hope everyone has a blessed and beautiful Monday and week.