How Can We Have an Awakened Heart?
- Saturday, January 09, 2010
"The glory of God is man fully alive." John Aldridge
Our heart is very important. Without it we will die. Recently I had been thinking seriously about the heart because I needed to go to a cardiac center to have a stress test. Then they said I couldn't have it because I have a left bundle branch block in my heart and would need to have a more thorough nuclear stress test. You can only imagine how seriously I was thinking about the heart after hearing that news! Fortunately the test results said they could find no serious heart problem. I was very glad for that news because our heart keeps us alive.
But not only does our physical heart keep us alive, our spiritual heart is extremely important as well.
My father had two heart operations several years ago. One of the operations was because he had a shell around his heart that was constricting and causing it to tighten. Without the removal of that shell, he would have eventually died. So many people have a shell around their spiritual heart to protect them, but they are dying and have no life inside. Their heart is hardened.
Many people are losing heart in these days. Trials seem to overwhelm them and situations in life threaten to distract, discourage, and disillusion. People are not taking time to stop and listen, to be still and really breath in God's strength. Daily life is often filled with computers, cell phones, the inter-net, text messages, and TV. God wants us to stop and let our heart catch up with all our frantic activity. He wants us to have a heart fully alive and filled with his destiny and plans.
Recently we had a large tropical storm hit Virginia Beach. The flooding was terrible - houses and streets were filled with water. Many lost electricity, streetlights were off, trees fell, and the rain pounded. My husband flew in from Texas during the worse hours of that storm. The small vulnerable plane was delayed because of the bad weather. When the passengers boarded the pilot said, "We've taken on extra fuel so we have a few more options." During the flight the stewardess told the passengers, "Put your seat belts on really tight because this is a bad storm!" I am sure some of the passengers were losing heart in the midst of their turbulent journey. Thankfully they arrived safely.
In life we sometimes face rough weather. But is there a perspective that takes us above the storm? How can we be fully alive in times like this? How can we have an awakened heart when things seem to be stormy all around us?
We are here on earth to fulfill a unique purpose. God is positioning his people for a great harvest. He has a plan. Every Christian has a unique destiny for such a time as this. Knowing your place in God is extremely important in order to be released into His fullness. There is a dream that is in you that is created by God. He wants to enlighten our hearts. We must let go of inferiority, smallness, and move into the greatness of God.
God Wants to Awaken our Hearts
"I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious father, may give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints" (Ephesians 1:17-18).
God wants us to see with the eyes of our heart. He wants the eyes of our heart enlightened so that we may know the hope of our calling. Our primary calling is to know and love Him with all our hearts, but we also have a God-given calling on earth that will bring Him glory. He wants each of us to have a heart fully alive to our own unique calling and purpose. Many of us have a calling that involves prayer. When we see our personal destiny on a heart level, it changes everything.
Proverbs 23:7 says, "As a man thinks in His heart, so is he." The thoughts and intentions of the heart shape a person. It is with the heart that we believe. The heart is who we are on the inside. I used to work with child evangelism. A good way to describe the heart to a small child is, "It's the real you inside that laughs and cries." The heart is very important because it is the center of who we are and what we do. It is the center of our emotions and how we feel about life.
Our destiny is of enormous significance. God is a god of order, and He is the master strategist. He brings us in line with his predetermined plan and purpose where true creativity is released. He wants us to find our destiny - who we are in Christ - and he wants us to be confident in the knowledge of it. So many fail to connect with their God-given purpose. They simply go through the motions. I have heard people who have a high calling in God say, "I feel empty inside."
The enemy strikes at our dreams and our destiny, and this struggle is played out on earth. There is a clash of kingdoms. He will fight our heart with doubt and unbelief because he knows what we can be in Christ. He knows that we are dangerous to the forces of darkness. He comes in to steal, kill and destroy but God wants to give us an abundant life (John 10:10). We have a new identity. But destiny does not just happen without difficulty and a wrestling with God in order for it to fully emerge. If the glory of God is man fully alive, the enemy strikes at that. Because of this many people are disillusioned, hurt, and hindered to God's potential in them.
Jesus was dynamic, fulfilled and passionate. He knew His mission in life. Coming into line with our purpose causes abundance. When we discover our life purpose and destiny, life takes on new meaning. Everything makes sense. There is no chaos because we are in line with God's Kingdom purposes. He makes the complicated simple. Ask yourself: How would I like to be remembered? What would my life look like if it turned out well? What is my God-sized dream?
We are called to love God and bring Him glory on earth. We read in Ephesians 2:10 that we are God's workmanship made for good works. People called by God often feel inadequate. Look at the life of Moses and Jeremiah. They felt inadequate! God gives us humanly impossible assignments. We must attempt something so great for God that it is destined to fail if God is not in it. But if He calls, He also gifts. We work together with Him. It is important for us to know who we are and what we are called to do. There is more to life. God put eternity in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
We often think in terms of a career. Sometimes our calling is combined with a career and sometimes it is replaced by a career. A calling is something I do for God. A career is something I choose for myself. A calling is something I receive. Careers often promise status, money and power. A calling generally promises difficulty and even suffering. A career will bring a retirement, but a calling is not over until the day you die. The rewards of a career may be quite visible but temporary. A calling is eternal. You are on a mission for the God who created you. Listen to God and follow your calling.
Chuck Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship, had enormous influence in life. But because of his part in the Watergate scandal, he went to prison. He thought his career was over in prison, but with humility came blessing. His calling actually began in prison when he started working with other prisoners. The real legacy of his life was his biggest failure as an ex-convict. His great humiliation was being sent to prison but that was the beginning of God's greatest use of his life.
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