Devotion of the Heart
In my previous article about living life beyond the borders I wrote about something that has persistently stayed alive within me and which I feel carries some significance for the days ahead.
I believe it is a redemptive word for the Body of Christ at this time. I am convinced that our Father desires to help us to understand what it means to live experientially beyond the borders which have been imposed upon our lives from different sources. These borders are the unnecessary limitations that have marred our lives causing pain, fear, heartache and discouragement.
There is an immense purposefulness within the heart of God to bring us all into a place of intimacy with Himself and in this process releasing us from these restricting borders, whatever they may be. This Fatherly passion is summed up in a translation of James 4:5
“the Spirit which He made to dwell in us jealously yearns for the entire devotion of the heart.”
The Gospel is always good news, even when we do not perceive it to be. Christ?s desire for you and me is to bring us in to an experiential freedom of the heart. And for that to grow within us let the cry of our heart be, “Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.”
A Growing conviction
It is my considered opinion that one of the many weaknesses within the Church that Jesus is building is that we are led by the ‘head’ rather than by the ‘heart’ There is a danger of allowing reason to rule our lives instead of King Jesus. I am not saying ‘remove the mind’ but I want to encourage believers to be led by the Spirit rather than by good ideas which have plagued the Church for so long.
We need to hear the Lord clearly and find ways to cultivate a hearing heart in our daily interaction with the Lord. If we are to move beyond the borders and grow in an intimate and experiential relationship with Jesus this is a crucial step.
Listening to too many other voices either through books or people can dull our sensitivity to our hearing of the Lord. We seem to find it much easier to talk about the road which He has not called us to, than to actually walk in His way, but the delight of keeping in step with Jesus must be experiential.
“Morning by morning He wakens me and opens my understanding to his will.” – TLB
Part of the problem
At the risk of sounding negative and it is so easy to point out what is wrong with the Church. However, there is a way of expressing how things can be, and that is our desire!
We have observed certain aspects of Christian experience that hinder rather than help God?s precious saints from going beyond the borders imposed upon their lives. In setting out a clear understanding of what it means to be a believing believer. I am convinced that it is not only possible but vital for every Christian to hear the Lord for themselves.
Think about these statements;
“And the sheep hear His voice, and He personally calls the sheep which are His private possession by name and leads them out.” [Kenneth Wuest – John 10:4]
“I am the Good Shepherd, I know my sheep and my sheep know me.”
“They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.”
The most natural part of the relationship between the shepherd and his sheep is the trust that exists between them. As I trust God and we experience mutual love I will hear Him clearly ……… Love will hear!
The warning from Jesus to beware of the leaven or yeast of the Pharisees is just as true today as it was when he told his disciples. A small amount of yeast will permeate the entire batch of dough. Part of the reason for moving away from organized church is for us to cultivate intimacy with Jesus and learn to hear Him for ourselves. Let us not be quick to fill our lives with stuff but rather take the time to become intimately acquainted with Father God.
If we are not led by the Spirit and continue to make our own reason-led decisions we are no better than any man-made club and cannot bring glory to Jesus – which is our whole purpose in life!
My second concern
Jenny and I have often commented that some believers who have left organized church have thrown the baby out with the bath water. Even though we are learning to listen to the Lord throughout the day I believe it is vital that we learn to come aside with Him at His prompting. If Jesus needed to be alone with His Father, we certainly need to be alone with Him also.
We desperately need to experience the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. I am not talking about showmanship but rather recognition of our complete dependence upon Father God to have His way within us – think about the following;
The early Church experienced the Holy Spirit?s power “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.”
“With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.”
“being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience.”
“for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Man’s wisdom or God’s power
Paul was a highly capable intellectual who spent seventeen years learning to understand the new life being formed
within him. When he presents the message to the Church in Corinth he makes it very plain that he is a different man.
“My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit?s power, so that your faith might not rest on men?s wisdom, but on God?s power.” [1 Cor. 2:4,5]
I could shout from the rooftops that we need a fresh revelation of who God is! May we ask our Father to deliver us from the ?religion of the Pharisees? who had no revelation of God and “…who took the key of knowledge, but instead of unlocking doors, they locked them. You won’t go in yourself, and won’t let anyone else in either.” [Luke 11:52]
We do not need to measure our lives by external factors like what we do or how often we do it. We were introduced to God?s grace at salvation and we live every day by that same grace. It is His life within us making the changes.
“If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us.” [2 Corinthians 4:7 – The Message]
It is all about Jesus. Together we can experience freedom beyond the borders because His divine power has given to us everything we need for life and godliness.