Saturday, October 17, 2015

Heart Check

Last weekend my family drove out to the desert and caught the tail end of the airshow.  As the jets flew overhead I couldn't help but wonder, what elite sort of person flies a Thunderbird?  I knew that it could not be easy, for if it were, everyone would be flying them.  These pilots had my respect because I was certain they were familiar with disciplined concentration and hard work.

Now, a week later, as I'm preparing to play songs for worship, my thoughts keep returning back to these words:

There's nothing worth more, that will ever come close
No thing can compare . . .Your Presence, Lord.
(by Bryan Torwalt and Katie Torwalt)

And I thought, do I really, truly crave the Presence of God to that degree?  If there is nothing comparable to the presence of God in my life, then what action am I taking to be drawn into Him?  I can pray more fervently, worship more intensely, and seek more diligently.  I can sacrifice my all or hush my heart, but in truth, more of His presence boils down to one thing: simple obedience.  If I want to know more of God's presence in my life I have to live by His terms.

Those F-16 pilots may have flown proud that day, but in order to arrive at that place, they had to be teachable. Resisting instruction from a commander would have been disastrous, not only to them, but to many others as well. In order to know such precision and glory, they had to fly by the rules.

Yes, I want more of God's presence in my life, but I will not arrive there by singing a meaningful song.  In fact, if my life has become self-indulgent and disobedient, my heart becomes sluggish and insensitive to the voice of God . . . . hardened.

Often God means to bless and draw me into intimacy with Him but I miss it because my heart is not in the right place to receive it.  I've become very aware of this in recent days as I've noted the response of those hearing the Word of God.  Like the parable of the farmer, some receive the Word thinking they've already arrived.  Others accept it with great gladness but then as the week progresses, lose interest. Some actively resist.  It is only those whose hearts are softened, yes, even broken, that the Word takes root and grows. (Matt. 13:3-9)

We were made for righteousness.  Therefore, in obedience is where we find the greatest joy, the highest freedom. "Be holy as I [Jesus] am holy," we are instructed. (1 Pet. 1:16) It seems an unrealistic command, and yet, by the power of God's Holy Spirit dwelling within us, we can defy gravity . . . this pull of sin on our lives.  Soaring is possible.

Yes, I want to be more aware of God's goodness in my life, more aware of His presence.  Only yesterday I saw Him pour out an unexpected blessing on my family.  But I might not have recognized it as that, if I had not been acting in obedience to Him. Living by God's terms has many motivators, but one of the greatest rewards is that it draws us into His presence.  For this reason, I "prepare my mind for action; remain self-controled and set my hope fully on the grace to be given me..."  (1 Pet. 1:13)

"With what shall I come before the LORD?  
Will [He] be pleased with thousands of rams, 
with ten thousand rivers of oil? 
He has showed you, O man, what is good.  
And what does the LORD require of you?  
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."  (Micah 6:5,7,8)

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