Strengthening your heart
One of my favorite books starts out like this. 'No matter how smart you are,
or how much education you have, you will not understand this unless you read
it with the eyes of your heart'. Fr_Paul would say 'let's get into the presence'.
God's written word dwells in your head - and His living word dwells in your
We've seen that our natural mind - the mind in our head - deals with the temporal,
and uses logic and reason, and that our spiritual mind - the mind in our heart
- deals with the eternal and can only discover. It knows directly without
Sometimes it is difficult to tell if we are ruled by the mind
in our head or the mind in our heart, because the mind in our head does not
want to lose control. Your natural mind doesn't give up that easily. It's
easy to be fooled. Your natural mind is like a chameleon and masquerades as
your spiritual mind. I suppose the best way to tell is if you feel the Lord's
Love, Joy, and Peace in your daily walk.
That Love, Joy, and Peace? they are
not yours. They are the direct result of the outflowing of God's dwelling
in your heart. Both Christ, and the Spirit of the Lord have chosen to make
your heart their dwelling - if you relinquish control and invite them in.
I think I'll underline that... If you relinquish control and allow them in.
Understanding spiritual things? That's not your's either. Jesus Christ is
the Logos - the Living Word. By dwelling in your heart, Jesus lends you His
wisdom, knowledge and understanding. Let me say that again. The Spirit of
the Lord dwelling in your heart *is* your strength, your wisdom, your knowledge,
and your understanding.
Here's an example of how that works. I'm sure you know someone that has said
'Before I knew the Lord, the Bible seemed like word salad. Just a jumble of
words. But after I knew the Lord - everything was *so* clear'.. Here's another
good way to tell. Do you fret about finances?, about your job? do you worry
about people breaking into your house? or terrorists? Those worries are all
in your natural mind. The Peace that passeth understanding - the Peace of Jesus
flowing out of your heart will overwhelm all those worries and make them seem
like nothing. You will still have financial problems and terrorists. But they
won't keep you up at night, and they won't consume all your waking thoughts.
And here's another way to tell. Imagine you and your
friend are talking about someone else's horrific sin, do you light a candle?
or do you curse the darkness? Can you know with Julian of Norwich that the
Lord is in complete control and that 'All shall be well'? or do you think
the Lord needs your help and He wants you to condemn the immorality of 'those'
sinners. Can you pray like Daniel, 'Lord have mercy on us, for we - my people
- have sinned against thee'?? These are only symptoms. There is no test you
can take that measures your spirituality.
So how do you strengthen your heart? The short answer is you can't; but the
Lord can. Jesus stands at the door of your heart and knocks. All you have to
do is let him in. Once you let him in, all of his strength, wisdom, knowledge,
and understanding are available to you. It's a free gift from the Lord to you.
And just like any relationship, if you want this relationship to grow, you've
got to spend time with Him. And just like any relationship, it grows and matures
over time. Don't be expecting the fullness of His strength and wisdom and knowledge
and understanding the first day. Give it time.
Do an experiment. Spend some time with Jesus. Open your heart to Him and invite
Him in. Focus on His presence. Try to locate His Love, Joy, and Peace. Try
to detect His strength. If any thoughts interfere, look past the thoughts
and seek His presence. Don't give up.
For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ... That
he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened
with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts
by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend
with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And
to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled
with all the fullness of God.(Ephesians 3:14-19)
But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart:
that is, the word of faith... (Romans 10:8)
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. (Psalm