Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Prov. 4:23
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. 1 Cor. 13:13
There are two posts which I need to write, after which I will be done. After I have put down these 2 posts I feel I can say as the prophet Simeon said on seeing the Child Jesus, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace…”
I probably am not ready to “depart” yet, but the issues I address here are so important (I believe) that, if I can present them clearly and unequivocally to a part of the Body of Christ, I feel that a part of my work here on earth will have been done. I do not imply that what I will be sharing in these two posts is the entirety of the gospel. But they are issues that Jesus spent a lot of time talking about.
The first one concerns forgiveness. What is forgiveness? Forgiveness has the simplest of definitions. It is a deliberate act of letting go, or a releasing of that person or that wrong which we have a right to make a complaint against. In order for it to become true forgiveness, though, it must come from the heart.
Forgiveness is something we should carry in our hearts 24/7, to use a modern coinage. Have you wondered that we have to bathe every day, sweep our houses every day, check our car’s oil levels, and do many other things as daily routine?
If you fail to do any of those things with any degree of regularity, the result will be catastrophic.
The same goes for the spirit. We need to clean our hearts daily. We need to check our level of forgiveness every day.
Recently, I felt the Lord leading me to take stock of my heart in the area of forgiveness. I was shocked by what I found! Minute (and not-so-minute) bits and pieces of grudges, resentments, criticisms, complaints, whinges and wheezes surfaced in my heart. Worse still was the fact that I found that I had something against nearly everyone! I found I even held resentment against Hitler and all the Nazis who started WWII!!
It was clear the problem was with my heart; it was not clean. That realization truly shook me.
I had always taken these fragments of attitudes in my heart as a ‘normal’ part of my Christian life (they were small, you see), but now the Lord was showing me (for the umpteenth time, I believe!) that what I was accommodating in my heart was terrible sin. And He was showing me that it was all a result of my not being careful to guard my heart.
Upon realizing this I cried to God to forgive me and give me grace.
It is the easiest thing to move on in our salvation and in our ‘service’ to God without regularly keeping in touch with God Himself. When we are in touch with God, when there is in our hearts a revelation of what Jesus came to accomplish on the cross, our sin is revealed and therein we will find the grace to always keep our hearts pure.
The Apostle Paul, talking about our union with Christ who is the Head, says, “… from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God” (Col. 2:19).
When we are living a real life with God, we will pay the price to keep our hearts pure – and the life of Christ will flow from our lives to touch other people’s lives.
I know I wrote this in an earlier post, but bear with me as I again share something Brother Miki Hardy said in a Nairobi conference a few years ago. During the course of his sermon he said, “I have purposed that I will never hold anything against my wife, whatever the circumstances are”.
Those words grasped my heart then, and to this day their power has been a guiding light in my life. This is the true gospel of Jesus Christ.
It is a sobering thought when we think about just how much God has forgiven us. I am sure that many of us, myself included, do not know the true depths of what God did for us in sending His Son to die for us on the cross. If we knew we wouldn’t allow unforgiveness to stay in our hearts for even a second.