Question for 2021: How’s your heart?
After a year of hardship, racial injustice, a pandemic, isolation, and uncertainty, how’s your heart? Before we step into our vision for this new year, we have to realign our heart with God’s. Have the Holy Spirit perform a heart transplant on each of us to make sure we’re focused on the right things — corporately and individually.
Matthew 5:8 (NIV) says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” Not, “blessed are those who quote the Bible from cover to cover” or “blessed are those who go to church every Sunday.” This is where the devil tries to trap us as believers. It’s not about your actions (solely), it’s about the condition of your heart. This is why King Solomon said in Proverbs 4:23 (NIV) “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Your heart filters how you see everything — life, people, and even Jesus. So, is your heart pure?
That’s a loaded question, and most would probably answer yes. But, truly, how can we know? Proverbs 21:2 (NIV) says, “A person may think their own ways are right, but the LORD weighs the heart.” We all think we’re “good,” but if our standard for good isn’t Jesus, how “good” can we be? Even in all of our good intentions and striving to be good people, we are still sinners. Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV) says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”
By now, you might be thinking, “If my heart is ultimately corrupt, how in the world can it be pure? How can I have a heart that is able to fully see God?”
1. Live in a constant rhythm of repentance.
In Christianity, this has become such a dirty word that no one wants to say, but it is the key to cleansing your heart. By definition, repent means “to feel or express sincere regret or remorse about one’s wrongdoing or sin.” We apologize to our friends, our family, and to our bosses when we mess up. How arrogant are we to think we shouldn’t apologize to God? But repentance isn’t something we can do solely on our own. We must first welcome the Holy Spirit to call out the things in our life that are unclean, and then with a convicted heart, we can come to the Father and repent of those sins. And it doesn’t stop there. Once we’ve made our apologies to God, we have to turn away from those sins, leave those bad habits behind, and live as a new creation.
2. Acknowledge that it’s a process.
Our hearts are constantly bombarded with things that make it hard. We’re constantly surrounded by the weight of the world, and because of this, we WILL have times where we fall short. But that’s why our God is so amazing. No matter how much we mess up, or allow the world to cloud our judgement, His grace and mercy are always ready to meet us where we are. This, again, is why repentance is so important. We have to acknowledge our wrongdoings to God so he doesn’t think we’re walking throughout our lives unaffected by our sin. That we aren’t just abusing the gift of his grace so that we can remain in the comfort of our bad habits.
3. Stay planted in God’s word.
This may seem obvious, but it’s so key. Our relationship with God cannot just be a casual thing we run to when life isn’t going our way. This is a daily walk of conviction and discipline, looking to God and His word for everything we do. The Bible is the only book in the world that reads you while you read it. In God’s word, yes, we find comfort, but we also find conviction. It’s natural for us to gravitate toward things we like or agree with, but this lens cannot be applied to God. There’s no power in reading the Bible and cherry picking the parts that we like. We either digest the word in its fullness, or we don’t believe it at all. Our power comes from standing firmly in truth, even when we don’t always want to hear it.
As we make our way to Vision Sunday, let’s go back to the foundation of what vision is. A vision that is not rooted in the word of God is simply a pipe dream. So let’s all do a heart check throughout this year. Constantly asking ourselves if our hearts are aligned to the heart of God. Asking the Holy Spirit to reveal the unclean things in our lives so that we can run at full speed for the things that God has for us in the new year.
Watch the full message “The Base Coat of Vision” on YouTube.