Updated: Sep 18, 2020
Have you ever been walking through life and suddenly realized that you have changed and become heavy? Not in weight, but in spirit. That our once light heartedness and care-free childlikeness has been eclipsed by the cares of this life? Some people would say, well that’s part of adulting. The truth is, being weighed down by the pressures of life is not what God desires for us.
“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” ~ Psalm 55:22
Over and over in the Scriptures we are told the antidote for heaviness. We are asked to become light as feathers. To lay aside all that we carry, and the burdens that come from being entangled in sin. That freedom from a heavy heart is a pure heart. Purity is ours for the taking, if we embrace it, it will bring with it peace and light. We have been washed by the blood of the lamb and made pure in heart (Revelations 22: 14), keeping ourselves clean from the things that muddy our life is now our responsibility. We are to continuously work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2: 12). For the fear (reverence) of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom (Proverbs 9: 10).
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” ~ Matthew 5 : 8
When we see God, really see Him, and not just hear of Him, nothing else will matter. But in order to see God, we need to have pure hearts. Isn’t it interesting, that most of the things that are robbing us of our peace are happening in our heart space. Really think about what is weighing you down to the point of robbing you of your joy. The things that fester in our hearts. Things that are beyond our control and yet they are holding our focus. Perhaps that is why we are told to guard our hearts (Proverbs 4: 23). I don’t think we take this verse seriously enough.
I know, many times in my own life where I just let anything and everything get to my heart, those things stole the good I had been storing up and enjoying without me even realizing it. The things we encounter in this life can easily leave us changed for the worse without us even noticing when the change happened. We need to employ some heavy weight lifting, no nonsense guards at the doors of our heart. About this I’m dead serious! Our hearts are too important to our experience of this life to guard weakly. Our joy, peace, contentment, and happiness are at stake. Money can’t buy any of these things. Only a heart that has removed all things that don’t align with God can bask in the light of God’s presence. The sweetest of places to be.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” ~ Matthew 11: 28 - 30
When we go to God, He gives us rest from everything. There is nothing too big for him to handle. While He gives us rest, the instruction is to learn from Him. To make God’s ways our ways. There was a time when WWJD, ‘What Would Jesus Do’ was popular. People bought the WWJD bracelets as physical reminders of this way of living life. It was a good idea. Although to be honest, most times we know what Jesus would do, but it feels better to do it our way. Like Jonah with the people of Nineveh, we get upset that God would forgive ugliness (Jonah 4: 1 - 3) especially when it's been done to us. Forgetting that we too were once dead in our sins, following after the appetites of our flesh, and yet the grace and love of God abounded for us too (Ephesians 2: 1 - 4).
God has no favourites, He is giving all the opportunity to come to Christ (1 Timothy 2: 4). The things that happen in the natural world are a reflection of the spiritual, that’s why we are told no to fight against the flesh. Ephesians 6: 12 tells us, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” The same way God works through people to do good. The enemy works through people to do harm. Our security and defense is that we serve a God who has overcome all.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16: 33
Does that mean we don’t experience stressors? Not at all. We will go through difficult things, but we are told to not become people who are permanently stressed, discouraged, nor fearful. Chronic stress, discouragement, and fearfulness are conditions that create a black cloud over all of life. Not only do physical illnesses develop from these states, but they break our spirit. This is why the Psalmist wrote, “I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121: 1 - 2). Keeping our eyes on Jesus prevents us from keeping our eyes on situations. Even if we spend all our time looking at the situation, it doesn’t change anything. But if we keep our eyes on God, only He can change the situation and change us too in the process. It only makes sense to go deeper in prayer and seek God the tougher things get. Worry doesn’t solve anything, but prayer moves mountains. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective (James 5: 16).
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life.” ~ Matthew 6: 25 - 27
The ‘Faith Hall of Fame’ in Hebrews 11 is there to give us examples of ordinary people like us who were used by God to do the extraordinary because they believed the One who had sent them. They set aside all selfish ambitions and followed the leading of God. Perhaps they deeply understood that God had a greater plan. A plan to prosper them, so they didn’t have to concern themselves with ambitions to prosper. God has a greater plan for us (Jeremiah 29: 11). We can let go of our own plan. If for no other reason, but for the fact that we are told that every good and perfect gift comes from God (james 1: 17). Letting go of our own plan, makes room for the good and perfect gift that God has in store for us. Take action on what you have received in the spirit. It seems big, but it has to be big because God is in it. Just move and see what God will do. Faith without works is dead (James 2: 17). Get moving, push, strive, persevere. The path has been laid out just for you.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,” ~ Hebrews 12: 1
We must create a heart environment that allows us to hear what the Lord is saying, and to see what He is doing. How do we do this? I believe the answer we are given in Philippians 4: 8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Anything contrary to these things has no room in our heart because whatever is in our heart will direct our life. I don’t want to go the wrong way because of a heart issue. I’m sure you don’t either.
My prayer: Lord remove all that is contrary to your Word from our hearts.
We have to continually take stock of the meditations of our heart. The evidence is in the things we say. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of (Luke 6: 45). It’s never just talk. It’s always a reflection of our heart. Choose today to muscle up the guards of your heart. On our own we cannot do it, but with God all things are possible to him who believes.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” ~ Proverbs 3: 5 - 6
Test and see that the Lord is faithful. What Word have you received that you will put into action today by faith?
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