Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Caring For Our Hearts

Originally posted Thursday March 31, 2005

John Eldredge in The Journey of Desire wrote:
"I believe we must add two spiritual disciplines to everyday life. The first is worship. We must adore God deliberately, regularly. The other is grief. We must allow a time for sorrow to do our personal sowing (Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him. Psalm 126:5-6; NIV). I see no other way to care for our hearts." 

We take our hearts for granted. That is true whether I am talking about our physical heart which pumps blood though out our body or the spiritual heart that is the seat of our emotions and thoughts. Physically we, as a culture, get far too little exercise and eat way too much. Spiritually we are good at studying and learning about God, but we often don't take the time to worship Him.

As I reflect on my life I know this to be so. My quiet time is dominated with reading, with some prayer, but no worship. I don't mean singing, but rather acknowledging God for who He is and the wonderful love He has for me. This lack of worship kills the heart because we never take the focus of ourselves. The studying and the reading is all about what I can know and discover and pass on. Very little time is spent reflecting on who God is and thanking Him for what He has done for us. For our hearts sake we need to put our focus on God. Not only do we have to recognize Him as our Creator, Lord, and Savior, but we also have to allow Him to guide us through this life. Worship gives us the opportunity to put our focus on God.

Consider what the apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 3:7-9:
I once thought all these things were so very important, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I may have Christ, and become one with him. I no longer count on my own goodness or my ability to obey God's law, but I trust Christ to save me. For God's way of making us right depends with himself depend on faith (NLT).

Paul was able to give up his former life and endure persecution because he had the proper focus. His eyes were on Jesus and what God had done through Jesus for us. It was through worship, making Jesus the most important thing, that Paul was able to get a proper focus on life.

Not only do we need to worship but we also need to grieve. Many of us carry hurts and wounds given to us by people. These wounds we carry in secret careful not to let other people see them for we are scared they might be interpreted at weakness. The result is that we never acknowledge the pain and the sorrow. We suppress the harsh words spoken to us, the death of a parent (or other meaningful person), the abuse done to us, or the rejection we have suffered. Pain is a part of our lives, but we bottle it up. We can hide it some of the time, but most of the time it is there telling us that we are damaged goods. We need to learn to grieve and to acknowledge the pain in our lives. By keeping our pain bottled our hearts are slowly be killed, for they have never had a chance to heal.

Jesus told us; "God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted"  (Matthew 5:4; NLT).

To mourn before God does not dishonor Him. He realizes how painful life is, He experiences the pain as well. God also knows our hurts, and His promise is that if we acknowledge our pain He will comfort us. As long as we hide our sin comfort will not find us. It is only when we turn to God and tell Him of our pain will comfort find us.

It is important to the health of our hearts for us to worship God and grieve the tragedies of life. Worship allows us to focus our lives on what is important. Grief helps us find comfort and healing for the pain in our lives. The health of our hearts demands that we be more disciplined.

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