Heart Sick

Heart Sick

“If your instructions hadn’t sustained me with joy, I would have died in my misery.” Psalm 119:92 NLT

Have you noticed that some of these verses about “delight” have referenced pain, misery, anguish, trouble, or discomfort of some kind? (See Psalm 119:143) I like how the Message puts it:

“If your revelation hadn’t delighted me so, I would have given up when the hard times came.”

Do you know anyone who has given up? Perhaps you have given up? I know a few people who have definitely given up on life, given up hope for happiness, and are certainly drowning in a sea of their own misery. I have been there myself. Part of the problem is whether or not we really understand the character of God. It’s one thing to look at a verse and nod in agreement, but if that truth hasn’t infiltrated the deepest recesses of our minds, it won’t transform our behavior. And by behavior I mean whether or not we choose to trust our Sovereign God when we are facing terrible distresses. We can know all the facts in the world about the Bible, Jesus, God and various doctrines, but if we are not living it out, it is worthless information (James 1:23-25); just words on a page or knowledge in the brain. Facts won’t transform us.

When we are hopeless, miserable, and despairing it is an outward evidence of an inward illness; the heart that has not fully understood the living truth of God’s promises. We’re not instructed to transform our behavior through memorizing facts (not that memorization is bad-quite the contrary), we are told to be “transformed” by the “renewing” (Greek word meaning “renovation”) of our minds; this is the only way to discover God’s will. (Romans 12:2) Our mind must undergo a spiritual renovation. This process involves removing the old décor, tearing down some walls, maybe building a new room, and removing the old clutter. This renovation will teach us to think in a different way. This way of thinking is led by the Holy Spirit, and is centered on the word of God and his revealed truth. Without this mind makeover, we are left to our own way of thinking which seems good to us, but in reality is conformed to the thought processes of the world. We cannot be worldly and spiritual at the same time.

If we really know God relationally (as opposed to just factually) we will begin to have a transformation of thought which will result in a transformation of behavior. Take a marriage, for example. As you get to know your spouse as a person (their character) you begin to behave differently around them. You have a level of trust based on your knowledge of who they are, and how they have acted towards you in the past. You also allow yourself to be more “real” in the presence of your partner as opposed to a person you just met last week. It’s not the facts of your spouse that influences your behavior, it’s the knowledge of their character based on your experience with them in your life.

So, are you miserable? What has your experience and relationship with God been like? Do you know his character, do you trust what the Bible says about who he is and how he feels about you, his treasured creation? Your relationship with God will dictate your behavior. Walking around moping and feeling sorry for ourselves is a demonstration of disbelief in God’s word. Does that sound too hard? Think about it!  It is something we are all guilty of at times, but it can be different! God’s word can sustain us with a deep lasting joy despite any situation. It doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll be walking around bubbly and enthusiastic all the time, but it does mean that deep down we will trust God, his word, and his promises and know his plan is being worked out in us. (Romans 8:28) That knowledge and experience with our Lord will relieve our pressure, lift our burdens, and give us joy! God is working this out: hallelujah! I know I can’t figure it out on my own (and when I try it usually turns into a total nightmare) but I know when God is moving miraculous things occur. I want my eyes to be open to the miracles he’s performing every day in my life, but I can’t see and be thankful for those things if I am fixated on not getting my way.

If it’s in my life (and yours) then God allowed it, and if I have a problem with that I need to dig deeper in to his word to discover more of his heart for me. God isn’t the problem, he’s the solution.

Prayer

Jesus, right now I choose to thank you for this circumstance in my life. I admit I am uncomfortable, but I realize that you are painting the portrait, not me. I will stop trying to add my colors to your picture, and let you be the Artist. Teach me more of who you are and what you are up to in my life so I may learn to trust you completely in all things. Today I ask for you to show yourself to me in a mighty miraculous way, confirm for me the truth that you are here, you care, and you have a plan. Impress that upon my heart with your Holy Spirit, and help me to be quiet so I can listen to your voice.

Shades of Black

“Your righteousness is
everlasting and your law is true.” Psalm 119:142 (NIV)

Shades of Black

Crayons, talk about a
color explosion. I would know because I am usually stepping on them or pulling
them out of my dogs’ mouth. There are so many shades of crayons these days its borderline
insanity.  Atomic tangerine, razzmatazz,
cerulean, laser lemon, dandelion, banana mania, tickle me pink, and tropical
rain forest were just a few I scanned at the top of the crayon box. It’s not
exactly red yellow blue green and brown anymore.

It reminds me of
people.

We have a lot of
colors don’t we? No, I’m not talking about race. I’m talking about personality.
No, not personality disorders, stay with me. I’m talking about faces. You know, the church face, the work face, the home face,
the shopping face. The face that
tolerates the tantrum from your child at the grocery store yet explodes at home
at the same attitude. The face that snaps at the spouse for a sarcastic comment
made at home yet holds the tongue in front of friends in public. The face that participates
in crude jokes at work but raises hands to Jesus during Sunday worship.

Does anyone besides
the God who sees our heart know the real us? Do we even know the real us? Just who are we when we lay our head on
the pillow at the end of the day and the show is over?

If I gave the Bible a
color I’d have to call it black. (And that has nothing to do with the average
leather binding on a Bible being black.) After all, there are no shades of
black, are there? In the same way the word of God is described many times as
being the chief source of truth. It
is not just a good idea, or a template for living, or a book of stories and
morals. The Bible is truth. We can’t
say that about anything else in the world. What else can we say is absolute?
God is absolute, and so is the word he breathed.

Have you ever thought
about degrees of truth? Ever told that “little white lie”? If it is not 100% truth then it is not truth at all! It would be like
putting a drop of poison in a liter of water and saying it is “mostly water”.
You still wouldn’t want to drink it because the rest of the water would be
tainted. When someone poses the question, “what is truth?” We have only one
answer to give, because there is only one certainty with no question and no
doubt, and that is the infallible word of God.

Do you find you
experience circumstances that are confusing and troublesome? You are lied to
and deceived, manipulated and left wondering what exactly is the truth? There
is but one source to go to for all facts, all certainty, all absolutes, and all
truth.

There are no shades
of black.

Prayer

Jesus, you are Truth! I love that
I can come to your word and never doubt that I will find absolute truth there.
Let me now rest on that promise alone!