How do we make these steps of recognition, and quality choices that work for us?
We cannot blame others for, or refuse to look at, the darker parts of our hearts.
They are our responsibility.
But how you ask?
We read in post #4 that God’s word judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
So let me make a suggestion beginning there, where the thoughts and intents begin.
We are so unaware of our heart condition, that we can’t even know that the words, and deeds done to us, and around us in our past, have clogged up our arteries.
Not with physical crud (although this may be true) but with spiritual crud.
Sludge that pulls at us, and weighs us down with anger, and depression, and anxiety galore.
We can have problems with our bodies, and have them fixed.
After that we keep going, but if our heart stops, we’re done.
Let’s look at what the Word of God says about how our hearts SHOULD be;
Galatians 5:22-23 says this – 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control.
If these things are evident in our life, we begin to clear our our spiritual arteries.
Never mind clearing them all out at once.
No one can do that!
But how about picking out the one you see lacking the most in your life.
Here’s my example.
It’s where I started.
I started with love.
It was THE most glaring lack that I could see.
I was “Looking for love in all the wrong places”.
If I did not recognize love from someone, I could not learn how to do it myself, much less, get it right.
I must say that the wrong ways I learned, took a very long time to un-learn.
It was a vicious circle filled with all kinds of wrongness.
None of which fulfilled my need.
I then met Jesus.
I learned about how He loved me, even if if others did not, and even if I could not.
I learned how He loved me, in a way that was different than any other way that I had tried.
I began to study His word, to learn about the ways He loved me.
The change in my heart was not overnight, but with continued seeking, reading, and learning, I began to feel some of the darkness melt away.
Ezekiel 36:26 says – And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
That old mindset tried every once in a while to creep back in and tell me how unlovable I was, and at that point I had to remember what I had learned.
The old attitudes in my heart certainly kept it as hard as it could be.
My heart needed to be hard to “protect” me, or so I believed.
That protection was a racket – and kept me imprisoned until I began to let that light shine in to the dark corners.
I had to repent in and of that darkness, and begin to practice new behaviors in accordance with my new found beliefs.
My thoughts, my words, and my deeds began ever so slowly to change.
I had to, and still do sometimes, have to actively remember that He knows me, and He loves me.
I placed the helpful verses He showed me at the end of this post.
Next I moved on to self control, and then to joy, which are both stories for a different time.
Taking on one thing at a time from this positive list, caused me to be able to see a great lessening in the list from the “flesh” mentioned in post #4.
Psalms 139 O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
3 You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
5 You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9 If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.
13 For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
My prayer is that you can let the love of God begin to flow into your heart as well.
A little at a time, or a lot at once.
The speed isn’t the issue, it’s the quality of the decision to do so.
Until next time …