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'.

Theory:

God's written word dwells in your head - and His living word dwells in your heart.

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 being taught. 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.

Practice:

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.

Foundations:

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 119:11)