Blog In Audio:
I hope you are well today. I am enjoying the sunshine of the Northwest. It appears that summer has finally arrived here in Bellingham. I am enjoying the diversity of harvest with many good things to eat from the fruit of my own labors in my garden. Last week was filled with lots of writing, recording, editing, and physical labor at church and at home. Life is always full!
As sons or daughters of God we must know how to keep our hearts for the sake of others. Our ‘heart’ includes our emotions, and all about us that is spiritual, mental, and physical in life. If we confess that our heart is into something, it means that all that is spirit, soul, and body, embraces it.
Our heart is the seat of our collective energies and the focus of our personal lives. It is the throne from which life flows. It is the seat of our thoughts, passions, desires, appetites, affections, purposes, and endeavors. Our heart is our personality, our inner life, and our character. A son or daughter of God must guard their heart. We are not to guard our hearts in the way the world guards their hearts. Those in the world seek to protect their hearts and often find themselves in situations where their hearts become hard and small, due to the wounds of life. King Solomon said that keeping our heart had to do with keeping the springs of life open and flowing.
Proverbs 4:23 Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.
How do we as sons or daughters of God guard our hearts so that we shine as light in our world? How do we keep the springs of life flowing from within us? The apostle Paul gave some great instructions to the Philippian church.
Philippians 4:4-7 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
A decision to live a lifestyle of rejoicing is key to living as a healthy son or daughter of God. This doesn’t mean that we laugh when we should cry; it means we choose to embrace God’s life and God’s presence every day of our lives. We must seek to be gentle among people and not forceful in our own ways, our own desires, or our own agendas. God is always at hand. He is always within our reach. If we realize that God is with us every step of the journey we can embrace a face-to-face relationship with Him that will keep us from being anxious. We should keep an open line of communication between Him and us, as we would with a friend. We don’t go to God with our needs of crisis expecting Him to give us a bailout or to deliver us from our circumstances. Once in a while God wants to get us out of our circumstances, but 100% of the time He wants to get into our circumstances with us. When we realize that there is no gap between God and us we can have a peace that surpasses our own understanding. Peace is not the absence of conflict; it is being in a place where there is no gap between God and us. It works on good days and on bad days. Peace is a knowing that our house is in the right place and that no change of circumstances can separate us from the love of God in our lives. It isn’t necessarily the absence of conflict. It is the assurance that we are joined to God and His house in all things and at all times. There is no separation between God and us and we can live near to Him in all things.
Paul goes on to write some key things for us to embrace in order to keep our hearts open to the flow of God’s life. We must keep our hearts so the issues of life will freely flow to those around us. This is true for all believers as sons and daughters of God.
Philippians 4:8-9 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
We can talk about and think on things that are just. Can we make a decision for others based upon who we are and not what they deserve? Love, forgiveness, mercy, and grace – these are all things of God’s justice. We must give our hearts to things that are pure! Resisting the things of impurity is not as powerful as embracing the things of purity with our whole hearts. We must give our hearts to things that are of a good report. Indulging in the good reports of life is more violent than embracing or waging war against the things of negativity and of bad report. Let’s give our hearts to things that are of good report. How about virtue? This is giving our hearts to every opportunity to give life to others. To live for the wellbeing of others and for the purposes of God and His kingdom is a virtuous thing. Life will come off of us that will empower others to live too! We must give our hearts to anything that is praiseworthy. If we think this is hard all we have to do is think of ANYTHING! Anything praiseworthy is a good thing to give our hearts to.
Rather than focusing on the things we cannot think about, we should fill our hearts with the things we can think about. We must give our hearts to things that are true. Here is something true. He loves us! He will never leave us! He cares for us! Nothing can separate us from Him! We must receive the things that He says about us and embrace them with our whole hearts. We must give our spirits, souls, and physical lives to all that is true. What about things that are just? I am not talking about complaining about injustice! If we receive, hear, and emulate those who give life in the journey of Christ’s life, we will be doing a good thing in keeping our hearts with all diligence. These things are essential for us believers that we might be true to who God says we really are for the sake of our world. It is time to shine in the world as the light and life of Christ in all things!
Ted J. Hanson
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