Matters of the Heart

Who Owns Me by Gina Guerra

I remember learning this lesson years ago when I wanted to see a movie that everyone else in my life was going to see. We all were Christians, but I knew I shouldn't go. I vented to my husband, how I felt God was holding me to a higher standard than other people and I was so frustrated. I blurted out, "I feel like my life is not my own!" Many years and a lot of living later, I know that to be a Biblical truth. 1 Corinthians 6:19b says, "You are not your own; you were bought at a price."

We have been purchased by Christ's blood and have been given our freedom. NOT freedom to sin, but freedom to love and serve others. The Scriptures say we have the right to do anything, but not everything is beneficial. We are not to be mastered by anything.

This recently got me thinking, "What has control over me?" If Christ owns me, then nothing else can be my master. There are vices in my life that I struggle with - we all have them. They can seem innocent or insignificant, but they aren't. Think of petting a beautiful, peaceful lion. All is well...until it suddenly turns on you and you end up getting eaten for lunch.

If you're struggling with bad habits, then write them down and study that list. Which one can you conquer first? Take a sheet of paper and draw (or print) 50 or more boxes on it. Each day you are victorious, highlight the box yellow. When you fail, mark a big fat "x" on that day and write in the circumstances/thoughts that surrounded the fail. Keep doing this consistently and you will begin to see a pattern. For a long time, I had to take a sleep aid to get rest at night. I wanted to get to where I could sleep without it, so I began charting it. Come to find out, on the nights I couldn't sleep, I had caffeine in the afternoon. Problem solved. Once you have 21 consecutive boxes that are yellow, praise God and then move on to the next vice. It takes time, but with the Lord's help, we can break these vices in our lives.

If you struggle with strong addictions such as narcotics, gambling, gluttony, etc., then it may be necessary to get help. Don't put it off any longer. Humble yourself, reach out, and get the help you need.

My Heart is Yours....or is it? by Lesley Swanson

There’s a popular Christian song out by Kristian Stanfill called, “My Heart is Yours”, that I absolutely love!  When it’s played and I’m in my car I turn it up quite loud! (Yes, I’m that kind of gal!!)

The lyrics go a little like this … yes, hum along with me if you know it!!

I give You my life, I give You my trust …  Jesus
You are my God, You are enough …  Jesus … oh, Jesus
(chorus) My heart is Yours, My heart is Yours . . .
Take it all … take it all … my life in Your hands

I lay down my life, I take up my cross … Jesus
You are my God, Whatever the cost … Jesus
(chorus) My heart is Yours, my heart is Yours . . .
Take it all … take it … my life in Your hands

All to Jesus I surrender, all to You I freely give
I will ever love and trust You, In Your presence I will live

One day as I drove and praised Him through (loudly) proclaiming the words of this song, I heard this little tiny whisper that said, “Do you really? Is your heart really ALL mine? Are you laying down your life for Me…no matter what I allow in your life? Do you mean it when you sing…whatever the cost? Can I take ALL of your life?”

This didn’t scare me because it was such a gentle but convicting line of questions. What it made me do was to pause and truly contemplate if my words were matching my life.  Which is a really really good thing to do and I don’t do this enough.  I’m guessing most of us do not do this enough.

This made me think for a minute about when I gave my life to Christ back in middle school.  I wondered … actually I did one of those “what if?” types of thoughts.  So, think about this for a minute with me … what if when we invited Christ into our lives that very first time there immediately appeared a book in our hands.  (I know, a tad far-fetched but hang in there with me). What if when you looked down at the book the title said The Life and Times of (your name filled in here).  And somehow you knew that inside this book was the story of your life in Christ.

What would you do?  Would you be eager to open it? For many of us, when our relationship began with Christ we were so super excited because life had really just begun.  So, I’m thinking that many of us would jump on the chance to open up the story of our lives so we could know all that Christ had in store for us!  Maybe at that point we believed what many fairy tales end with ‘and they lived happily ever after’ … BUT what if you opened that book and all the pages where blank??

What do you think you would do next?  Honestly?  I think most of us…hopefully I’m not the only one that would…grab a pen or pencil and start writing.  Am I right?

Actually, many times we do.  We begin to write the story of our lives the way WE want it to go.

God’s Word in the sixteenth chapter of Proverbs says …
            “The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord” (v. 1)
            “The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” (v. 9)

We do make plans for our lives and that’s not necessarily wrong.  Yet God is clear ~ HE is absolutely sovereign and HE can override our plans so that His purposes are fulfilled.  Nothing trumps His plans, His rule, His purposes or His glory.

We would write all good things into our lives.  We would write a ‘perfect’ life of everything we would want in it.

Those verses in Proverbs should lead to a settled peace in our lives.  It should assure us that we can trust Him who loves us so very much.  

But wait!! Scripture says in Psalms 119 ~ “It was good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statues” (v. 71).  Why? Why would this be written?  Because as verse 67 says, “Before I was afflicted I went astray”.

Affliction frustrates us, depresses us, makes us murmur and complain, and sometimes it make us downright angry.  We don’t want affliction written in our story.  But on those blank pages of the ‘story of our lives’ affliction can and will be there.

Problem-free life can lead to a forgetfulness of Christ while affliction can and should lead us to say, “But now I keep Your Word” (Ps. 119.67b).  And when we are keeping His Word we can honestly sing … ‘take it all … take it all …my life in Your hands’.

Who’s glory are you most living for ~ yours or His?

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