August 30, 2010

To Live is Christ — tugging at my heart

A video making the rounds on Facebook shows a man finding a stethoscope on the sidewalk. He puts it on and presses the end of it to the cookie he is eating. Out comes the song, “Sugar, sugar.” He tries it on a few more things with appropriate results. Then he decides to try his own heart and to his delight, he hears the Alleluia course. The last message is written on the screen. It is about Christ living in you, the hope of glory.

The ending made me smile. I know that Christ does not live in every heart, as indicated by the video, but when He came into my heart, that was the best thing that ever happened to me. I often feel like singing, and wonder if my heart can talk. I know it can listen.

Today’s devotional reading asks how I know God is speaking to me. Is it audibly, or visually, or through my emotions? While science might call it something else, I’d say that other than His Word, He speaks most often to and through my heart. I am not loony. I hear Him, and that He speaks is affirmed by His Word. 

In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. (Hebrews 1:1–2, NIV)
The main message God speaks is His plan of salvation and all that He wants us to know about Him. Yet His speaking is often very personal and about daily matters. He also wants me to know about myself, about what is going well and what needs changing.

Example. Last week I was sorting one of my “memory” boxes. I read a little bit of a journal entry I’d written more than twenty-five years ago. It blessed me, but that still small voice started tugging at my heart. God was trying to get my attention using this note I’d written.

At first, I wasn’t sure what I was hearing. Comparing the journal entry with today, I’ve changed. I don’t think the same way or do the same things that I’d written about, but I began wondering if the change was a bad thing rather than progress.

During those two dozen years, I’ve become less capable of trusting people and more inclined to hold back, to not be so open or gullible. Things had happened to me, so I knew why this was so, but that little tugging from God nagged me to think more deeply, to ask myself some hard questions.

I’ve not totally figured out all that God is saying about this. I know the Bible says that we should not put our faith in people, for they will let us down, but have I gone too far? Have I stopped trusting God with how people will treat me? Perhaps.

Meanwhile, these verses and His still small voice remind me over and over again that God speaks. He spoke to the prophets and to the men who wrote the Bible under His inspiration. He speaks to the whole world through the life, death and resurrection of His Son. The Word of God is living and speaks to those who read it with open hearts. He speaks through life experiences and through people.

He also speaks through the Holy Spirit. I cannot explain how that works. I know that I need discernment for there are many voices, including my own imagination. All that I hear needs to line up with what has been written. The Bible is the sure and certain test.

I think of verses like Psalm 34:18. It says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” It means that God is close to me when I have a humble and contrite spirit, and I know that these qualities make me more receptive to Him. He asks me to listen, to pay attention to the tugging. I don’t know how, but if I will listen, He will make clear the message that I need to hear.

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