Saturday, May 28, 2016

My Hidden Heart

"Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious
thoughts. See if there is any
offensive way in me, and lead me in the
way everlasting." Psalm 139:23-24

My mother has an impressively green thumb. She can find a stick in the yard, wedge it down into a pot of soil, and come back some time later to find a beautiful flower. Sadly, I did not inherit that talent. My husband says that plants beg not to be taken to our home because they know a slow, painful, dry death awaits. 

I often forget to water. 

I went to the opposite extreme once and actually killed a cactus. Too much water. Go figure. 

In my defense, it's been quite a while now since I killed a plant. I'm getting better, and more attentive. Still no expert, though. I do know that plant seeds are often scattered by birds far from where you would normally find them. No surprise, then, that they often end up where they do not belong. 

I found this little thing on our front steps. Actually, I stepped over it for a few weeks because, well... I was lazy? It was little and not hurting anything? It kind of fascinated me? All of the above? 

Now the thing is, if I had tried to get something to grow in a crack on my front steps it would never have worked. But since that little seed was somehow deposited there at just the right time and not noticed as it began to grow, it ended up like this. 

I have to admit, there's a part of me that would like to have left it there to see how big it would get. We could use a little shade on our front steps. I do understand, though, that as it grew it would begin to separate the bricks and destroy the steps. It would not grow kindly in its own space. In fact, in time, it would tear apart the very thing giving it shelter and safety and structure. It wouldn't care that it didn't belong there. It would simply take everything it needed, regardless of the damage it inflicted. 

So, it had to come up, but you know what? Even as small as it was, it did not come up without a fight. The root was easily twice as long as what was visible above the ground. Not so cute anymore. 

Sin is like that sometimes. Oh, we all have things we readily identify as sinful and not pleasing to God, but what about those things that we 'see' but step over because we're too lazy, or because it's so little it couldn't really be a problem, or - if we're honest - we're just a little bit fascinated by it. That private little thing that no one knows about. It's only ours and we want to wrap our arms around it and hold it close and keep it safe. That thing. 

That thing that even now is putting down a tap root in your heart that will take TNT to dislodge. 

Sometimes we see the danger and shrug our shoulders and say, "That will never happen to me."

Sometimes we don't want to look too closely because if we do we might have to change something. Like - us. 

Sometimes, it's so small or so hidden we don't even know it's there yet. But God does. 

"Man looks at the outward appearance, but 
the Lord looks at he heart." 1 Samuel 16:7

We will never be good at guarding or honestly seeing our own hearts. We're not capable of that kind of unbiased self-examination. But God is the master of it. He knows every nook and cranny - and every single thing taking root there. 

He sees it all. 

Now we can look at that one of two ways. We can either see a scary, big-brother's-watching kind of thing, or we can be thankful that God does not look at our hearts in order to condemn us, though there is much there to condemn. 

No. He searches our hearts to root out every single thing that would separate us from fellowship with him and from the abundant life he sacrificed to give us. 

We can pray this prayer from the Psalms with complete security knowing that it is his will to refine us and make us more like him. Don't make him chase you down and get your attention the hard way. Ask him right now to search you out and let you see what he does. Then ask for his power to change those things, dig them out and throw them on the spiritual burn pile. 

You can't change yourself. You can't even be willing for him to change you in your own strength. It's all on him. You just have to be willing to be made willing. 

And that comes from him, too. 

He is faithful to do in us what needs to be done. Uprooting things takes effort, persistence, and determination. No one is more determined than Jesus for you to be free. No one pursues you with more persistence. 

No one sees you like he does. And no one loves you more. 

Praying for you, 


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