Learning to Live From Your New Heart
Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts…For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4: 7, 12, 13, The Message
One thing is for sure for the follower of Jesus -- God gives us a new heart! The significance of this gift is immeasurable. Our heart of birth had been broken, bruised, battered, used, diseased, rejected, hardened, and corrupted. In short; it is unfixable. That's why we are candidates for nothing less than a 'heart transplant'. Anything else would fall woefully short. Prior to the new birth our old heart is as the Prophet Jeremiah proclaimed: "sick, desperately wicked…Who can know it?"
"I'll give you a new heart; I'll put a new spirit in you. I'll cut out your stone heart and replace it with a red-blooded, firm muscled heart." Ezekiel 11:19, The Message "I will give them an un-divided heart…"
Too many of us characterized our old heart as shattered, decimated, and broken to pieces. King David expressed the cry of most, "Unite my heart to fear thy name." This is what takes place slowly, day by day, as we take our Inner Journey and journal his encouraging words in our new heart.
The daily condition of our new heart will become a primary concern as you progress on this Inner Journey. All the experiences of our life, up to this moment, are not what shaped you. Rather: it is what has come out of your heart that makes the greatest difference.
Simply stated, how we respond to the experiences of life are the greater determinate in defining your human and/or spiritual condition. In the Inner Journey he will show you in simple specifics how it has not been what went into you that defiled you, but what came out of your heart diminished your life.
This does not challenge that you may be deeply wounded and left to fend for yourself. Most have suffered some form of trauma; either by abuses done to them by significant others or by being neglected or abandoned. Unfortunately, the pain and struggle during your journey has been devastating to your development and ability to function in life's most critical areas.
Jesus, Immanuel; which means 'God with you' will come to your wounded life and embrace your heart with deep healing, restoration, forgiveness and peace. He will strengthen your inner life and deposit his joy to empower the remainder of your journey. He understands your condition and needs better than you could possibly imagine and he will take your hand and gently walk you all the way to wholeness and maturity.
Too many authentic believers have languished in the hurts of their dysfunctional upbringing, all the while sincerely longing to move beyond these issues to maturity. They were so impaired that if they do not get repaired it will be very hard for them to become prepared to live the rest of their journey in the fullness Jesus wants to bring to their heart. As we embrace Jesus in our heart he will nurture us to grow beyond past and present infirmities.
In the Bible, the word infirmity indicates a weakness or lack of strength that is the result of previous unhealed wounding or crippling. The word is rarely used in a purely physical sense. Rather, it indicates spiritual, moral, character, relational, developmental, mental, emotional weakness or a lack of strength. Having infirmities is not sin, but they do weaken one's resistance to temptation.
The good news that you can look forward to from Jesus in your Inner Journey is that he not only understands the fact of your infirmities, but as your High Priest, he understands the feeling of your infirmities…not just the crippling, not just the weaknesses, not just the emotional hang-ups and chronic inner conflicts, but the woundedness, self-hate, and pain that come from them.
He understands the shame, the frustration, the anxiety, the depression, and the sense of failure. He also understands the rejection of self and others, the abandonment, the struggle to stay attached in healthy relational bonds, the loneliness and the isolation. He understands the addictions, self-medicating behaviors and the repeated failures.
He understands the vain attempts to cope and cover up. He understands your secret wars and your many losses. He uniquely understands it all and can be touched by the feeling of your infirmities. Jesus will embrace all of these infirmities through you Inner Journey. He alone can heal your history, present and future as you daily come to him as the High Priest of your new heart!
He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases. Matthew 8:17
Like-wise his Holy Spirit also helps us with our infirmities; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us…according to the will of God. Romans 8: 26-27
In Hebrews 4: 15, Jesus is portrayed as the one "who can be touched by the feeling of your infirmities." The scripture also exhorts the church in Romans 14 that the strong ought to bear with those who are weak, not passing judgment on them for their ongoing struggles.
His daily bread/word will penetrate your present heart condition. All of who you are will be laid bare before His and our eyes. His exposure is life-giving. It will enable you to better see and understand all the parts of your life that are out of harmony with his purposes.
Our heart directly affects our thinking, choices, emotions, memories, relational reality and ultimately our daily 'obedience'. In the Inner Journey we learn the heart attitudes that negatively affect your relationships with yourself, significant others and fellowship with him. This happens as we simply listen and put into action (obey) all that he says to us.
Has the Lord as much pleasure in your burnt offerings and sacrifices as in your obedience? Obedience is far better than sacrifice. He is much more interested in your listening to him than in your offering the fat of rams to him." 1 Samuel 16:22, LB
Hearing and Seeing Hearts Jesus said, "I prefer a flexible heart to an inflexible ritual." (Matthew 12:7, The Message)
This is how it works: whenever someone has a ready heart, the insights and understandings flow freely. But if there is no readiness of heart, any trace of receptivity soon disappears. That is why Jesus taught using 'stories' or 'parables'.
They create readiness, to nudge you toward receptive insight. In a hardened heart state we can stare at the obvious till doomsday and not see it, listen until we are blue in the face and not get it. Not only that, but we also tend to leak out and forget what seemed plain and simple yesterday.
This is how (Isaiah 6:9, 10) put it; "your ears are open but you don't hear a thing. Your eyes are awake but you don't see a thing. The people are blockheads! They stick their finger in their ears so they won't have to listen; they screw their eyes shut so they won't have to look, so they won't have to deal with me face-to-face and let me heal them."
Through the "Inner Journey" or your "daily Quiet time" with Jesus, He imparts to your new heart God-blessed eyes -- eyes that see! And God-blessed ears -- ears that hear! Ask yourself the following questions; do I have a ready heart? Are my ears on? Are the eyes of my heart focused on Jesus abiding on the throne of my new heart? If the ears and eyes of your heart are receptive and tuned to Jesus insight and understanding will flow freely.
God is continually using the story of our own Inner Journey with him to create readiness and to nudge us toward receptive insight/God-sight and God-sound. His story in and through us creates a deepening hunger and thirst for intimacy (into -- me -- see). And it's not only in us; but those around us gain fresh insight into their personal journey through our grace story as it is told in our daily journal and reflected through our heart.
According to the story of the sower in Luke, Jesus teaches that it is from our hearts that we gain all spiritual guidance and understanding. "But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a 'crop'." Luke 8: 15 NIV The Inner Journey will shape that noble and good heart, which increasingly enables you to hear, retain and persevere with Jesus through anything!
"All valid spiritual direction comes to us through our heart -- the seat of true knowing and our 'eyes' and 'ears' in the spirit. If we discern the "will of God" it is through our heart. Knowing our true identity and destiny is achieved through our hearts as well." (Living from the Heart Jesus Gave You, pg. 67)
"In solitary silence we listen (in our new heart throne room) with great attentiveness to the voice that calls us beloved. God speaks into the deepest strata of our souls, into our self-hatred and shame, our narcissism (total self-focus), and takes us through the night into the daylight of His truth." ~Brennan Manning
A hostile world! I call to God (from my heart), I cry to God to help me. From his palace he hears my call; my cry brings me right into his presence -- a private audience! Psalm 18: 16, The Message
Just like the mother of a newborn; his ears are attentive to our heart-felt cry for him. He alone will suffice. A daily private audience with the King of Kings keeps our heart soft, broken and pliable. So we remind ourselves as we learn this new life lived from the heart -- I will daily veil myself in thee and wrap my tender new heart with the softness of your presence.
Contrary to the viewpoint of pop culture, our hearts aren't just the 'feeling' or 'emotional' side of us. Feelings are certainly generated and experienced from the heart, but also by the mind/body. "The function of the heart is to organize our life as a whole. (Dallas Willard) This is especially true for our prayer life -- a life not previously understood or experienced.
Our disorganized, wounded, incongruent 'old heart' betrays our masks, and reflects our daily core need for a Savior. Jesus (from the throne of our heart) sweeps into our 'brokenness' with a new heart -- one that is capable of containing the very love of God -- one that also develops the capacity to express Father's heart to our own core and then to the world.
The new heart Jesus gives us, passionately organizes our life around the Trinity. We tend to focus on either; "Jesus" or "Father" -- yet we discover on our Inner Journey they are a relational community filled with their Holy Spirit. Jesus takes up residence in our new heart, the very essence of their community. From there, they model how we can live a whole, good and godly new life.
Their heart beats with fiery passion and contrite humility. And that new heart is empowered by the redemptive blood of Jesus. You/we are now charged with the high responsibility of caring for your/our new heart. The heart work of the Inner Journey keeps it pliable and molded to Father, Son and Holy Spirit's awesome will lived out through us. Our new hearts literally become the 'manager' nurturing the life of Christ in and through us! That is why your Inner Journey is so critical!
In the grip of Jesus in My New Heart!