Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Heart Expansion

Gratitude Year 4-Day 131: Today, I am grateful heart expansion is not dangerous.

Image credit: First 5- Proverbs 31 Ministries
I've been pondering the seeds of this post since Sunday. I always like to find an image to accompany it (that began Year 2). My cousin Debbie shared this image from Lysa Terkeurst  "First 5" this morning and it is perfect. God sent. 

"God wants to expand our hearts beyond all barriers."- Krista Williams

We have been 6 weeks in 1 Corinthians in worship and in small groups. It is always such a great little letter to study in depth. Paul had his hands full with the church in Corinth. They were pretty full of themselves with their cosmopolitan city and cultured ways of the day. They were probably much like our Chicago, New York City or Los Angeles. Humans are so easily wooed by out cultures to take our eyes off of Jesus.  I know. I see it in the mirror. 

Gather people together and they are going to create a hierarchy...an "in crowd" and an "outcast" group of people. Humans have this propensity to build themselves up by looking down, cutting down and pushing down others. It is pride. It is our sinful human nature. Jesus paid the price to redeem us. He longs for us to fellowship in community looking through the lens of love. 

1 Corinthians Chapters 12-13 are full of Paul's instructions and challenges to the believers who were losing some things "in translation" as they tried to actually live out their new faith while living in a culture. The call to be "not of this world" with eyes set on Jesus...and eternity...is easier said the done. 

Here are a couple of verses that stood out to me. Perhaps, because I love the song "Hosanna" by Hillsong.  There is a particular line that grabs me. "Break my heart for what breaks yours." That is such a powerful, life changing prayer. 

The Corinthians fit this snapshot of culture...and if we are honest...so do we. 

"I see a generation

Rising up to take their place
With selfless faith
With selfless faith" 

Culture is consuming.  He calls us to love Him with an all consuming passion. He says "Love me" in the first four of the Ten Commandments. He defines what loving a Holy God looks like and what it doesn't. The remaining six help us live with each other.  They are not the "Ten Suggestions". They are rules for better, fuller and more content living. 

How do we love each other the way we love Christ?  People are harder to love.  They are imperfect by my standards...as I am by theirs.  That is why we are offered Biblical guidance and rules for living.  They help us love Him better and genuinely love others more.  

Yes, He desires genuine love for the lost, broken, orphaned, widowed and sick. The great thing about it, is that His love is transforming.  We can start out "in love" because it is the "right thing to do" and then he changes the desires of our hearts in the middle of the act of service.  That is just how he works and it never ceases to amaze me. 

"Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like you have loved me"

The Corinthians were dealing with unacceptable behaviors...and yes, we must address things that are clearly against God's instruction, but do we enjoy it. We shouldn't. Our hearts should mourn in break for any sin that takes a foothold in the lives of our brothers and sisters. It should cause us to mourn...not put on self-righteous airs.  

And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? 1 Corinthians 5:2

"Break my heart for what breaks yours"

My favorite line in the song. 

"Everything I am for Your kingdom's cause"

My cause...the thing that stirs my passions... should be His cause. We are just passing through and the time here is short. 

"As I walk from earth into eternity"
"Hosanna in the Highest!"

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. Pursue love... 1 Corinthian 13:13- 14:1(a)

Yes, "pursue love".Look at the verse that comes right before the famous "love chapter".

"But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way." -1 Corinthian 12:31

Yes, "God wants to expand our hearts beyond all barriers." It will stretch us.  It may hurt a little. But, in the end, it is heart building. Life building. A full and good life are in Him. 
Today, I am grateful heart expansion is not dangerous.

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