"Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life." Prov. 4:23
When our youngest child, Allyson, was a three year old she came to me one night with this theological trauma. "Daddy, I want to ask Jesus into my heart." Well, I was touched by her tender request, and immediately started gathering my thoughts to bring her to the point of conviction of sin, genuine repentance from it, and the justification offered to her in Christ for it. I would then lead her to an understanding of the process of sanctification on earth and her eventual glorification on Heaven. I was loaded for bear. Without taking another breath, she went on to say. "You know, He's so big, and I'm so little. How can He can get in me?" I was left in a stunned silence. If you know anything about little girls, you know they can be relentless, especially if they think they are being ignored. "Daddy. Daddy. Daddy. Daddy. Daddy. Daddy. Whaddayah think? Daddy? Daddy? Daddy?" I came up with the best answer I could think of at the time. "Go ask your mother." She left happy and I was relieved. Dana handled it...again.
For over twenty years I have played that scene over and over in my mind. What a great question! How does Jesus get in my heart? To a child, when they hear us talk about Jesus coming into their heart, they are concerned He will unzip them at the navel and put them on like an earth suit. The message from Proverbs 4:23 jumped out at me this morning. "Watch over your heart...from it flow the springs of life." Have you ever noticed how much the word "heart" is mentioned in the Bible? Must be important. Whaddayah think?
Dana and I are spending a few days of RnR at a BnB in Hot Springs, Arkansas. On the drive here we were reflecting how nice it was to be able to leave town for a reason other than chemo treatments, a doctor's appointment or surgery. The trip is a result of the generosity of our church family. This makes it an even more memorable event in our lives. This is my first time to visit Hot Springs. I had no idea of the beauty and the history of this area.
One of the the pieces of information I have picked up has intrigued me. There is a particularly famous, white columned water plant on the main drag of the city. The company produces water and sends it around the world in green bottles. The water has been determined to be over 3,000 years old, and some of the purest on the planet. The purity is a result of having all the sediment and corruption filtered by being forced through the many layers of rock under the springs. The source of heat is volcanic in nature, and purifies the water even further as it reaches the surface.
The word "heart" is used in the Bible to refer to our desire, our mind, our will or our emotions. Proverbs warns us that this vital life-giving source can be polluted. Matthew 5:8 records the words of Jesus, "Blessed are the pure in heart." Throughout Scripture we are told that God looks at a person's heart with more concern than their outward appearance. The heart can store evil intent. It can also be bank reserve that holds treasures that can be drawn on in time of need. The heart can be troubled, broken, cleansed, contrite, deceitful, gentle, humble, hard, slow, courageous, fearful, pierced, and sincere. What makes the difference in a person's heart? The answer is more about Who than about what.
Paul loved the idea of Jesus living in a believer's heart. He fervently prayed, " I bow my knees before the Father, ...that He would grant you...to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man...so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith." (Ephesians 3:14-17)The full partnership of the Trinity is required to make the life-changing difference in a person's heart. God gives His Son. The Son gives His life. The Spirit gives His power. What begins with a child like prayer of faith, becomes a life time of trusting God with our mind, our will and our emotions until He transforms us into someone who believes, thinks, and lives like Jesus.
Jesus is the Rock. Through prayer we force our thoughts, our rights, our feelings through the crevices of His character. They become purified by the process. When we come into the warmth of His Presence on a daily basis, the fire from His word applied to our hearts cleanses us from impurities even more. When I let His Word become my way, and His companionship becomes my first priority, then my heart becomes a life-giving flow of His love to others. Come on everybody, let's Rock.