Pursue the Heart

Pursuing the heart of those we’re leading, whether in ministry, or in our home can be extremely powerful and personally humbling.

From the hearts springs forth the issues of life (Prov 4:23, Mt. 12:34). Nothing that is done externally is disconnected from something internally. The heart beats, the blood flows, the body moves.

Emphasis in ministry can be put on outward fruit of those we’re leading. Every leader has created some sort of ideal. That ideal determines how much action we put forth into a situation. When someone we’re leading breaks the mold of expectation, red flags are raised and we respond with action.

Sometimes I feel like I’m scrambling to put out fires when my aim should be starting fires. A fire started for Christ in the heart of a person becomes more powerful than exerting my pastoral energy to put out their heart fires. Why? Because the Holy Spirit is much better pastor than I will ever be. A. W. Tozer said something to effect of, “When we think rightly about God 10,000 lesser problems are dealt with.” (not an exact quote)

The root of our life, as Proverbs says, is the heart. What is in the heart? The answer to 01-06-11_OldAppleTree_Hxbythat will tell you what type of fruit will be born. Scrambling to “pick off” the bad fruit from someones life can be as frustrating as picking off damaged apples from an orchard of apple trees. If the apples are diseased the root of the tree must be examined to see of what quality it is.

In the garden God called to the man and the woman saying, “Where are you?” God knew where they were. The problem was that they didn’t know where they were. They were disconnected at the heart level from the current situation. Their hearts had believed a lie, bought into deception, and acted upon it. Similarly, Jesus when restoring Peter doesn’t say to him, “Peter, don’t ever deny me again.” What does He ask?

“Peter do you love Me?”

Peter’s denial would never resurface again if his heart was deeply connected to loving Jesus. A revelation of Christ on the inside will lead to an expression of Christ on the outside.

Pray Ephesians 1:17. Pray it for yourself. Pray it for those whom you lead. Let God give us revelation of His Son at the root of our lives.

Christ Revealed the Father – Jn. 15:9-11

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you, abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” Jn 15:9-11

I want to take a brief look at 3 points on what Christ revealed about the Father from this passage.

1.) Christ revealed the Father’s love by loving His disciples the way that the Father loved Him.

When the Word became flesh and dwelt among humanity He was commissioned by the Father to reveal all that He desired humanity to know about Himself. Jesus is the image of the invisible God. His character, thoughts, words and deeds show the exact nature of the Father. The Father has deep and profound love for the Son; they share a relationship that would have otherwise been unknown to mankind. Yet, Christ came and invited humanity into the Triune expression of love and affection. This “same” love that the Father has and expresses towards the Son is the “same” love with which Christ has loved us. God wanted us to know how He loved us by loving us through His Son. He also wanted us to know how much He loved His Son by expressing that love through His Son to us.

2.) To experience this love, Jesus tells us that we must keep His commandments.

Love for God is expressed through the guarding of the commands of the Lord. Keeping His word will cause us to “abide” in the love of God. The commandments of the Lord are unto love not duty. For example, the man that loves his wife earnestly upholds the covenant of marriage that he made with her. Upholding the covenant doesn’t diminish love in dullness (religion) but rather inflames love causing it to grow.

The love of God is freely given, it is a tower of refuge; there is no lock on the door and anyone can come in, but to REMAIN inside of that tower, to truly dwell in that tower, we must keep His commands. Anyone can make a covenant of marriage in declaration of love, but to remain in the covenant of marriage the man (or woman) works to not break that covenant.

Grace is given to keep His commands when we understand the Father’s love and affection through revelation. If we don’t understand the war that rages outside the dwelling of the Lord’s love, we will not understand the nature of abiding in God’s love and treat it cheaply. Cheap love leads to weak faith, which ultimately ends in no love. Weak faith puts us outside of the tower of Christ’s affection and makes us subject to the fiery darts of the evil one.

3.) The full expression of joy and enduring pleasure in this life comes from keeping God’s commandments.

God wants us to experience pleasure, yet He wants us to do it in a way that honors Him, ourselves and others. There is a God-intended way to experience pleasure – the greatest pleasure is the affection of His heart. It the the pleasure that God has within the God-head. Father, Son and Holy Spirit share inexpressible joy in and of themselves. We experience that pleasure by living in their love, and we remain in that love through keeping God’s commands. The most exhilarating experience that humanity can have on this side of eternity is an ongoing reception of the love of God through the power of the Holy Spirit.

May you be blessed and enriched by the power of the Holy Spirit.