Hearts. They are dangerous, messy, wild, unpredictable things. What are we to do with them? How can they ever be tamed, I know I can't curb mine on my own. I've been going through Colossians with my girls Life Group recently. Colossians 3:1-4 says "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." In the previous verses Paul talks about the rules and traditions we use that "lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence." We need more than rules to tame our hearts, it's going to take something much bigger.
The key is death. That old ugly heart has got to die. We think sometimes, in the issue of salvation and faith, there is no price to pay, Christ paid it all. And certainly he did, but his invitation to us is death. We must share in his death on the cross. Until we die we can't live. It's something that happens once on the one hand, but then again, it has to happen daily too. I don't like dieing to myself, it hurts, my heart rebels, it doesn't want to be put to death. I lay it down on the altar, I bare it to his masterful touch, his surgeon hands, but I flinch, I want to jump up off of the altar.
It sounds so simple, but I've found the only way my heart is transformed, is "set on things above", is through significant time spent in the word, meditation and worship. I'm using Beth Moore's bible study 'A Woman's Heart: God's Dwelling Place', it has been so timely. God's plan has always been to reach our hearts (thank you Jesus!) and this study points back to that. I've also been purposely not turning on the TV and setting aside quiet time at night to just be with Jesus, in his word, quieting my heart before him, worshiping him. I am so thankful for people and groups like Chris Tomlin, Third Day, Hillsong, Travis Cottrell, Selah and so many more for using the gifts God's given them to teach us and lead us in worship. Lately I almost always have worship music on, it changes me. It lifts my heart and mind to places 'above'.
To spend significant, life changing time with God though takes sacrifice, discipline, commitment. One of the problems we as Christians have with taming our hearts is that we live in a culture that pampers and indulges the heart. We, as a culture, deny ourselves nothing. Righteousness, holiness doesn't come without a price. But what do we gain in return? Everything! Col. 3:4 "When Christ, who is your life (your heart) appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." Glory! He's so generous. He asks us to die, but to what? Immorality, greed, selfishness, fear, bitterness. It's hard, certainly, but what does he offer us in return for our broken, black hearts? His own! His glory, his life, power, love, freedom, peace! Have you ever known anyone so generous?! So I dare you, let's do it, what do we have to lose, let's die! And in dieing we'll live!