Above all guard your heart- about heart's attitude
My dear friends,
Tomorrow is Palm Sunday, and we enter Holy Week. No week is more suitable to examine one's attitude of heart, to question and "guard one's heart". It is a week of focus, a week that, like no other, puts Jesus at the center-and with him, all that he has done for us.
Guarding one's heart. What is it?
Your heart attitude determines how other people perceive you.
It is your intention, your true nature. Your heart attitude defines how you judge the world around you, how you perceive it, how you behave in which situations.
Your heart attitude is reflected in what you put your heart on. That which is placed on your heart is what fills you most with longing and dreams. "What the heart is full of, the mouth overflows" - this is what the proverb says. Your enthusiasm and energy lies in these topics, projects, views. They are those areas in your life where you do not compromise.
You can put your heart into many things.
And then there is the insatiable longing-the heart's desire.
Heart's desires have a tendency to be completely consuming, to the point where nothing else matters and your whole perception is fixed on this one point. Every woman with a desire to have children knows this: Suddenly the whole world seems to be pushing a baby carriage in front of her.
Everywhere you see happy families, while your longing rages unquenched inside you.
Unhappy singles know this, and therefore avoid cheerful beer gardens in the summer - because happy couples are sitting around everywhere.
It is the areas in your life that give you a hint of what you consider irreplaceable - but also what is invested in you as a blessing. When others deny you a share in these deep longings, everything in you collapses. You feel not only attacked, but also questioned as everything you are and what makes you you. Questioning genuine heart desires that not you but God has placed in you- they lead to total agony and inner blackness when an arrow of fire hits you.
We all know them.
All our energy is caught up in these projects. Nothing is more important than making them happen. Whether it's a conference we're organizing, a book we're writing, or a church we're building, every second of our time goes into that project, and it has to be perfect, it has to be good, and it has to make a difference.
The problem with all these matters of the heart is: they often cause us to lose focus of who it's really all about.
While the world gets lost in sideshows, for the most part, the pursuit of us Christians is in some way connected to Jesus. But sometimes, even here, we get so caught up in our work, our family, or just wanting "everything to be relaxed" that we completely lose focus on Jesus. Every Christian has times of desert, times when nothing works. The world with its demands strikes. Illness, news of death, war, unemployment, divorce and personal failure - all of this increases inwardly to a cry of despair and anger, of not understanding: "Why, Lord? Didn't you promise to keep me?" Depending on how close we are to Jesus, the answer is unbearable silence or the gentle breath of an embrace that says, "It must be so. Trust me. I'm holding you-and I'm still in control of all this."
But what is a Christian heart supposed to be focused on? What does it really mean that we should put God first?
Nothing is more hotly debated, in no area do the arrows of fire fly at each other more unchecked than on this question. Revival! Obedience! Spiritual warfare! Being a warrior! Evangelism! Relief projects! Fighting sin! Taking over the world, gaining influence!
What you rarely hear, all too rarely- it's the answer: Love. Appreciate. Respect. Serve. Encourage. To be shelter from the storm, to be water in the desert.
There is a firestorm raging in the community. Burning, hot, destructive fire.
The only problem is:
When the bush burned before Moses- no harm was done to it.
The only problem is:
About Jesus it was announced:
"The bent reed he will not break, and the smoldering wick he will not quench. In faithfulness he carries out justice." ( Isaiah 42:3).
The only problem is:
Jesus still washed the feet of even Judas Iscariot in love and appreciation when he already knew he would betray him.
The only problem is:
When the crowds wanted to keep away from him the least, the unseen, the auxiliary spirits of the time- the children- he knelt down, humbling himself to embrace and exalt them.
Jesus always turned to the weak, the oppressed, the little ones. His heart confronted every kind of domination over one another, of exploitation and hardship. His heart was with those whom no one wanted to have and see.
The attitude of the Christian's heart.
Is it that of the warrior who goes to war against Satan?
Is it that of the passionate preacher who threatens the masses with hell?
Is it that of the leader who, in dominance and authority, gathers and shepherds his sheep, but does not feed, does not build up, does not heal?
Is it dominion that is commanded to us?
No. It is love.
It is serving and appreciating. It is loving care and attention. It is the covenant of the new heart, the new spirit, and the law written on the heart.
"And it comes to pass that he was reclining at table in his house, and many publicans and sinners were reclining at table with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many, and they followed him. 16 And when the scribes of the Pharisees saw him eating with sinners and tax collectors, they said to his disciples, With tax collectors and sinners does he eat? 17 And Jesus heard it, and says to them: It is not the strong who need a physician, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." (Mark 2:17)
Does this passage actually mean that the scribes and Pharisees were justified by Jesus at this point?
Oh, no, nothing could be further from the truth!
But they were the ones who were so self-righteous, who were so convinced they were doing everything right, that they assumed they had no need of the Savior. They thought there was no fault and no falling in them. They exalted themselves above the outcasts and marginalized in immoderate arrogance. They were the ones who were the most lost of all.
This week Zion's Daughter is about keeping the heart.
Holy Week offers so much revelation about the disciples' heart attitudes than any other. And in many, we may mirror ourselves.
So accompany me through Holy Week- with quiet steps. May our hearts be refocused on the one who is really at stake:
To Jesus. To the Savior of us all. To the Son of God who laid down his life for those he calls his friends.
Today I close with a prayer for all of us.
Abba, dear Father. We come before you wrapped in the grace and righteousness of your Son Jesus. We thank you for all that you have given us in him. Our heart is often not undivided. Our own striving,our urge to control things, situations and people is often overflowing. We often lose sight of you, lose sight of who you have revealed yourself to us in. We debate so much about Him that we forget what He is like. We argue with each other so fanatically that we forget that our heart belongs to him. We lose sight of what it is all about. We give you our heart, and we ask you to reorient us, to fill us anew with the Holy Spirit. We ask you to take all weapons from our hands, so that we can come before the cross of Jesus again, unadulterated and as we are. We ask that your mercy and grace, your love and acceptance fill us. We ask for your truth, peace and wisdom this week. Lead us into genuine repentance where we have lost our way. Lead us into genuine grace and joy where we will celebrate the miracle of resurrection. And let our hearts rest in you, Lord, turn our gaze back to you- so that all hardship and struggle can depart from us. Thank you for everything, Father, thank you for everything, Jesus. Let our heart belong to you alone. In your name, Jesus. We love you. Amen.
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Sibylle/Daughter of Zion