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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How's Your Heart?

This is one of my favorite questions that I am occasionally asked by one of my best friends. Over the past few days God has given me a whole new perspective on how to answer that question at any given moment, and the lesson came from a very unlikely place...

My television.

One of the challenges on this week's episode of The Amazing Race included performing various maneuvers with a Ford Mustang (such as weaving through a set of cones and coming to a complete stop in front of a dummy car without hitting it -- within 16 seconds) at the Ford Proving Grounds in Belgium ~ a total dream for many guys, including the snowboarders I'm such a fan of. The two decided Tommy would complete the task, but Andy wrestled with some jealousy over it due to his love of cars. Later in the episode he identified that jealousy as sin in his heart and said he had asked for forgiveness from Christ, Who then lifted the burden.

Tommy behind the wheel while Andy waits {source}

 I don't know many people, including myself, even in the Christian community, who are so quick to recognize sin in their hearts, call it what it is, and ask the Lord to remove it.

It seems so elementary. Sin enters heart... Sin needs to be removed... Christ removes it upon asking. DONE! Yet it's something I've failed to grasp for most of my life. I frequently wrestle with things like anger or jealousy, and suddenly I'm realizing it's probably because I try to figure out how to handle them when what I need is for Someone to remove them.

Andy's example has really made an impression on me. One of the reasons I became a fan of the snowboarders, before I even knew they were Christians, was that they get along SO WELL! They don't argue and fight when things get stressful. They just enjoy the race for what it is and trust the Lord with whatever setbacks they encounter. Andy's honest self-assessment this past week offers a BIG CLUE as to why this is true! There is no other way to live with the sort of freedom and joy I've seen in Andy and Tommy than to immediately deal with any sin that tries to creep into my heart by asking God to remove it -- and letting Him take it -- before it has a chance to take root and turn into bitterness.

Maybe these guys should write a book...
"How to Run the Race With a Smile On Your Face" {source}

How many times have we been told to guard our hearts because the heart is the wellspring of life? I think we too often take this to mean we should guard our hearts from other people, when really what we need is to guard our hearts from sin. Is this something you do on a consistent basis? I don't. But I want to change that. This morning I discovered a line in Gungor's song "Church Bells" that I'd never picked up on before... 
May our jaded hearts be healed. Amen.
I'm waking up to the fact that my jaded heart can only be healed by identifying any sin there, allowing Christ to take it from me, and therein finding the freedom to move forward in unconditional love and peace. In the future when I am asked, "How's your heart?" I want my response to be based on whether or not I'm allowing any sin to dwell there. I want a soft, forgiving heart, not a hardened one. I want a heart that thinks the best of others, not one that doubts them. And I want a heart that is experiencing the abundant life Christ intended, not one that is lonely and bitter! I want to run the race of life the way Andy and Tommy are running The Amazing Race!

May our jaded hearts be healed. Amen.

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