“To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right.” – Confucius
We need to set our hearts right. We need to set our hearts on God.
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” – Colossians 3:1-2 (NIV)
God has been showing me a few areas of my heart that He wants to partner with me to work on.
Here are some thoughts that I’ve jotted down on my phone over the past couple months:
· I’m not very good at waiting.
· I dislike interruptions.
· I’m not very flexible.
· I don’t adapt well.
· I’ve never been a big fan of change.
· I like my plans, and when things don’t go as planned, I tend to get overwhelmed (i.e. I get frustrated, freak out, and shut down)
I started to believe that my lack of flexibility and adaptability was just part of my nature – who I am – who God created me to be – and that I didn’t have to change. That it wasn’t something I needed to work on. But after a while, I started to see the error in my reactions. That I was reacting instead of responding. That my husband and kids were becoming inconveniences to my neatly planned-out days.
I am a planner, and God knows that. He made me that way. But when I trust my plan over His, when I want my way over His, when I get overwhelmed and frustrated when unplanned things happen?
Lately, there have been some days that didn’t go according to my plan. Here are a few real-life examples:
· My son’s braces broke, resulting in an emergency trip to the orthodontist (which resulted in 2 hours of driving)
· Two back-to-back weekends of my four kids sharing the stomach flu
· My daughter getting sick at school and needing to come home early
I started to think, maybe God is trying to teach me something. I don’t want to miss it! I don’t want to keep having to learn the same lesson over and over. I want to be teachable… flexible… changeable. Selfless. Less consumed with myself and more consumed with Him.
In our study of Jeremiah, I came across Jeremiah 9:14 – “But they have walked stubbornly after their own hearts…”
I’ve spent far too much time following the stubbornness of my heart. God longs for me to set my heart on Him. To walk, to run, after His own heart.
This morning God impressed on my heart: It’s not too late to change.
Just because I’ve always been resistant to change, it doesn’t mean I have to keep being resistant to change. The enemy would love for us to stay in our comfortable places, in our sin that we so quickly try to justify. God is calling us to set our hearts on Him, to become more like Him.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right, persevering, and steadfast spirit within me.” – Psalm 51:10 (AMP)
“Behold, it was for my peace that I had intense bitterness; but You have loved back my life from the pit of corruption and nothingness, for you have cast all my sins behind Your back.” – Isaiah 38:17 (AMP)
God cares about your heart, your life. He can create new hearts in us. He has loved back our lives from the pit of corruption and nothingness, and He has cast all our sins behind His back. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us – before we had done anything to deserve salvation, wholeness, or right standing with Him. He loved us when we were unlovable and undeserving of His love.
One of my favorite books right now for study and reflection is Psalms: Poetry on Fire (The Passion Translation) by Brian Simmons.
Psalm 27:14 (tPt) – “Here’s what I’ve learned through it all: don’t give up, don’t be impatient, be entwined as one with the Lord.* Be brave, courageous, and never lose hope. Yes, keep on waiting – for he will never disappoint you!”
And there was a note by that phrase, “be entwined as one with the Lord.” It said, “Or ‘wait upon the Lord.’ See note from Psalm 25:5.”
Psalm 25:1-5 (tPt) – “Forever I will lift up my soul into your presence, Lord. Be there for me, God, for I keep trusting in you. Don’t allow my foes to gloat over me or the shame of my defeat to overtake me. For how could anyone be disgraced when they’ve entwined their hearts with you? But they will all be defeated and ashamed when they harm the innocent. Lord, direct me throughout my journey, so I can experience your plans for my life. Reveal the life-paths that are pleasing to you. Escort me along the way, take me by the hand and teach me, for you are the God of my increasing salvation; I have wrapped my heart into yours!*”
I absolutely love the note that’s on Psalm 25:5: “The Hebrew word most commonly translated as wait (wait upon the Lord) is qavah, which also means to tie together by twisting, or entwine, or wrap tightly. This is a beautiful concept of waiting upon God, not as something passive, but entwining our hearts with him and his purposes.”
How do we set our hearts right? By waiting upon the Lord, by entwining our hearts with Him. By focusing on God, prioritizing relationship with Him. By returning to our first Love. Twisting, entwining, wrapping tightly – it may not be comfortable, but the result is worth it… being closer to our Father, our Creator, our Comforter.
I am beginning to learn to adapt better. To be a little more flexible. To respond in love to the unplanned. To embrace His plan over mine. It’s a process, and I’m okay with that. It’s part of my journey with Him.
Are there any parts of your heart that God is calling you to work on with Him?
I just want to encourage you today: it’s not too late to change. It’s not too late to set your whole heart on Him.
A rainbow over my kids’ school, on one of those days that didn’t go as planned. I love how God interrupted my day to remind me of His love and faithfulness!
This week’s song suggestions:
- “Holy Spirit” by Bryan & Katie Torwalt. Listen here!
- “Give Us Clean Hands” by Chris Tomlin. Listen here!