Out of Your Heart, the Life Speaks

 

 

Sitting in a crowded living room, surrounded by people who I love and walk with daily. Lives and hearts open to one another. Immediate family a foreign concept, as we have all become like one family; sharing the problems, pains, and joys that come with that title. People who have come from all over, brought together by a mutual love for our King Yeshua… Yet something seems off.

What are we doing?

Why are we here?

I’ve been asking myself these questions for a few weeks now. Recognizing that something is amiss in my life. Where is my heart? My devotion? My longing? What is my life accomplishing and pointing people towards? So, I sat in this living room, with children running in and out, phone notifications going off, and distractions of various kinds waiting to entangle my thoughts; and I listened. People shared things from the Scriptures. They shared their thoughts. They even shared their convictions and, with sincerity, shared their open repentance towards those things.

Then as our time was drawing to a close, and my heart still unsettled about what this time really meant, one more person begins to share. This time, the sharp voice of a prophetic soul. The words carried the weight of a trusted brother/father in our lives. But even more so, carried the weight of a heavy truth that broke down the walls that were restricting so many of us.

“We’ve been beating around the bush for the last few weeks. What we are all feeling and processing right now, the reason we’re anxious and unsettled and struggling, is because our focus and devotion is not on Jesus.”  

The words instantly freed most of us in the room. The words were true and we all knew it. But how did this happen? We are people whose deep love for Jesus drove us to give up all of ourselves. Within our family, you can hear story after story of God speaking and his children obeying. He said, “move”, so we moved. He said, “give up this career”, so we did and reorganized our lives accordingly. He said, “give”, so we emptied our accounts and began living open handedly towards the world and each other. He said, “defy your family out of your love for me”, so we did and trusted him as our Father to fill the voids. So, with all of that present among our stories… How did we find ourselves here? Void of our pursuit of the very One who brought us together?

I don’t know the answer to that yet. But I do know this:

For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit,for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
— Luke 6:43-45

 

One thing about living your life and pursuing your faith outside the confines of the established systems for doing so, is that you are forced to face the truth about yourself. When we are a cog in a system, our role seems clear and it’s easy to justify it. God made you this certain way, so you do this certain thing. And what systems are able to accomplish can seem so impressive that it keeps us from really evaluating our hearts. Questions about what we are doing and why we are doing them, are typically only asked by those who organize the system and then acted upon by those who have been recruited as the necessary pieces. We don’t realize it then, but we adopt someone else’s vision and “passion”. And once that system has been removed, our “passion” for that things slips away and we find the next vision to adopt and slide in to fulfill a needed piece of the operation.

But if you do as most of our faith family has done, and never replace the system… you’re left with the fullness of yourself. You are still needed and a part of the body; important and valued indeed. But you are no longer there to advance someone else’s vision. You are free. Free to find your own vision and passion. Free to serve the body as the Lord has directed you, not man. But that freedom to find those things, also comes with the freedom to not pursue them at all. And if you don’t pursue those God given things, you will undoubtedly find yourself pursuing comfort.

Comfort is the great trap that we too often find ourselves favoring, and the one I believe our faith family has wandered into. It has this gravitational pull that, left uninhibited, will snatch up your life. Next thing you know, 10 or 20 years have passed and all the effort you’ve given in life and work have only served to establish a small and easily destroyed kingdom for yourself. Your life is spent inwardly, with little to no fruit to bear for the hurting and broken of this world. As Andy Mineo would put it, “if you want to live a comfortable life; make sure you never love [anybody], be selfish, and never sacrifice.”

When we are comfortable, we don’t end up evaluating the fruit of our lives, as John 6 above would suggest we do. Instead, we justify our lives and the fruit of it. And because we never evaluate the fruit of our lives, we won’t evaluate the heart from which those fruits flow. Therefore, we will remain safe from the truth that we aren’t as passionate about the things of Yeshua as we thought. And more importantly we won’t be able to admit and repent of the fact that our hearts have wandered from Our King.

Prayer: Jesus, disrupt our comfort. Lay the fruits of our lives clearly in front of us. Confront us with the truth and make us face the heart that is the source of these things. Draw us to repent to you and to one another. And ignite our hearts to pursue you again. For you are the wellspring of life.

“Oh, to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be
Let that goodness like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart, oh, take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above”

-KB