LENT: Day 5 - My Child, Give Me Your Heart
Monday, February 19 2018
A week of Lent has passed. We have come to Day 5. How are we doing? What have we learned and changed in our lives?
St. Augustine of Hippo, a Bishop and Father of the Church who lived from 354 to 430 A.D., wrote: "You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you." Every heart has been created with a spiritual vacuum that only God Himself, the Creator, can fill. We will wander aimlessly and insatiably if we think that something or someone in creation can complete us – only God, who created us for Himself, is our fullness and our rest.
Proverbs 23:26a reads: “My son, give me your heart …” It is not so much my prayers, or my fasting, or my self-denial that God is seeking – He longs for me to give Him my heart: that is, my intellect, my emotions, my will and my conscience – not so much everything that I do; but so much more – everything that I am!
Ezekiel 36:25-27 says: “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”
Ahhh … clean water for my heart: without water my heart cannot survive and live – water cleanses me, water purifies me, water quenches my thirst, water refreshes me – clean water is what my poor heart needs when it has fallen into the dirt of sin and weakness, and when it has been in the wilderness. Better yet – I need a completely new heart, a heart of flesh, to replace the old heart of stone that I have; and a new spirit, the very Holy Spirit within me, so that I might walk in obedience and faithfulness to God. And God promises to give me that new heart and that new spirit!
But where? Hosea 2:14 says: “Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her.” A Spanish translation literally renders this verse as: “I will draw her to myself and take her to the desert, and I will speak to her heart.” The wildernesses in our lives do not always mean a time of spiritual dryness because of our sin or our disobedience. Sometimes, God first draws us to Himself, and then He takes us together with Him to the desert – not to discipline or to chastise us, but to speak to our heart – there, far from all the distractions in the world; or perhaps to test us and to know what is in our heart (as He did with the people of Israel when they wandered in the desert for 40 years – Deuteronomy 8:2; and as He did with His own Son Jesus when the Holy Spirit led Him into the desert for 40 days to be tempted there by the devil – Matthew 4:1).
Proverbs 4:23 exhorts us to guard our heart above all else. The New American Standard Version says it beautifully: “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.”
And Psalm 24:3,4a y 5 asks and responds: “Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart … He will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God his Savior.”
May God help us during these days of Lent, and all the days that follow, to reflect often and much upon our heart:
- are we seeking fullness and rest for our hearts in God alone?
- are we giving our whole hearts – all that we are and all that we do – to God?
- are we seeking and preparing ourselves for the new heart of flesh and the new spirit which He longs to give us?
- are we willing to go to the desert with Him so that He might speak to our hearts there?
- are we committed to keeping our hearts clean and holy, so that we might stand in God’s presence and receive His blessing?
Dear friends: may it be so, as together we wait for the God of love to speak to our hearts …
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