A heart of flesh…

After my morning shower, I found Erick and Noah along with one of Noah’s good buddies having a serious discussion of a few verses in James 1. Each boy did a little reading aloud and then they listened as Erick talked with them about this difficult world. He said, “it is clear this scripture is saying to us that the world is full of problems, but it is also reminding us to count it all joy when we face trials because endurance that comes from patiently waiting in these times is what builds our faith and patience, having done her perfect work, brings forth completion, lacking nothing, a satisfied soul.” I sat with them to listen and soon was holding my precious Book in my hands reading those underlined words they had been discussing, words I had found so very important that I have them marked for easy finding.

We daily have opportunities to live out what we say we believe. I find such hurt inside my heart when people suppose what isn’t true. So many times what is supposed stands in stark contrast from the truth; not just a little off the mark, but worlds apart. Why is this?

I think it can be traced back to the heart, always. I was reminded this afternoon of a scripture that tells us how different one heart can be from another. “…I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my judgments, and do them.” (from Ezekiel 36) Mention is made right before these verses about the Lord cleansing away filthiness and idols. He knows…He knows what is in every heart. He desires truth in the inward parts. He is all wise and wholly pure. For that, I thank Him.

I love how scripture states that by doing His Work in a heart He “causes” His children to walk in HIs statutes, to keep His judgments, and do them.” Every truly good thing comes from Him and is only accomplished by His might and His power as it accords with His will. So much in this world is so far beyond me, too big for me, too difficult to grasp, but I know The One who is able. Why do I trust? Because He knows my heart. He gave me this heart of flesh that can love and feel, that can hurt and then heal. How blessed I am in the midst of all…

Those who suppose that a person with a heart of flesh can rejoice in the sorrow of another reveals the complete lack of understanding of a tender heart. Though hearts of flesh mourn over wickedness and hatred and evil it never rejoices over another’s failure or their hurt. A heart of flesh, a heart given by The Lord is a heart that breaks over sin, over lives destroyed from foolishness and pride. A heart of flesh desires above all else for every life to be lived joyfully and free from the bondage of harmful ways. Stony hearts, they get pleasure out of inflicting pain on others because their feelings are primarily limited to self, and does not rejoice in the good things in other’s lives. Limited, that is what a stony heart is, and I would not wish one for any person, not ever, for their sakes and for the sake of those around them.

So…we ask for wisdom and for understanding. We rejoice in the truth. We don’t suppose to know what any earthly outcomes may be, but we do rest in knowing that eternally all will be well. “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18) Recognizing with this as with all other things, we are the created not The Creator. With an eternal perspective and perfect wisdom, His thoughts are above our thoughts and His ways are above our ways. How wonderful to know that He who is Almighty is mindful of the least of these…Bless His Holy Name.

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