A Cluttered Mind

“Make room in your hearts for us.” -2 Corinthians 7:2 (ESV)

My desk is the epitome of clutter. If it is messy on normal days, it looks three times as worse on days when I have to write papers and exams. With open books scattered everywhere and pages of articles jutting out from every possible nook and corner, it is as if a tornado tore right through my desk and left devastation in its wake. Sometimes I do not realize it myself, and it is only when I come to find a place to set my plate and eat before I work again that I realize how messy my desk really is. As I sift through the sea of books and papers to make room, I find other things which I do not need and set them aside so that I may focus on what is really important; eating in order to gain the nourishment and strength to press on and do well.

We live in an age where busyness is almost a virtue. While we must all strive for diligence in whatever we do, too often we become engrossed in our work and make ourselves busy for the sake of being busy. When we do this however, our minds become terribly cluttered and stress begins to take sway; tainting our interactions with others. It can come to a point where we become so absorbed with ourselves and what we need to get done that we lose sight of God and the people around us. Relationships are strained not only by the harmful things we say, but also when we are not with the people we love both in presence and in our hearts. To have our priorities skewed by a false diligence is to deprive ourselves of joy and to submit ourselves to a slavery that will only serve to destroy us piece by piece. It is only when we have made room in our hearts for Christ and have made keeping in step with Him our top priority that we will find a lasting peace and joy which will never be taken away. As we allow Him to order our lives, He will expose what does not need to be there in our hearts and attitudes so that room will be made for His love. When this happens we will make room for others so that through His love Christ may reveal Himself and restore those who are broken and in need of His restorative work.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Is Our Love Real?

“My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to hear your words, but they do not put them into practice. Their mouths speak of love, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain.” –Ezekiel 33:31 (NIV)

Why is it patronizing to pay lip-service to someone? Most would say that it is insincere to the point of being insulting. For example, when we say “I love you” to someone, yet act towards that same person in a way that is certainly not befitting of love, then our profession of love towards that person can be called into question. If we truly did love that person, we would ensure that it is made tangible through our actions and attitudes. It is like having a computer send a message to you every morning saying that “I love you”. Since a computer cannot do anything to prove its love to you, the phrase becomes hollow and superficial. Likewise our love expressed in words is meaningless if it is not expressed in action as well, and it is this lack of demonstrated love which frustrates others.

Often we can be like that with God. Though we may listen to His Word and speak of His love, our hearts can be far away from Him. While we might claim that we love God and love those around us, perhaps they have become just words to us which have not been translated into action. But it is this duplicity which can harm our witness for Christ, and cause ourselves and others to wonder whether if our love for Him is real and genuine. Like computers who have been programmed to say “I love you” our verbal expressions of love are empty and absent of meaning if our behaviour does not show it. How then can we escape this contradiction? The only way is to completely surrender ourselves to Christ and live in obedience to Him. When we have allowed His Spirit to enter our lives and restore every area of our being, we will want to live in accordance with Him by His enabling. The best way to show our love for Christ is to pursue His righteousness always; humbly allowing Him to perfect His love in us so that no one will be able to question who reigns in our lives.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Overflow Like A Volcano

“I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and your saving help. I do not conceal your love and your faithfulness from the great assembly.” –Psalm 40:10 (NIV)

Does a volcano ever hold back when it erupts? We would be hard-pressed to convince ourselves that it does. I have seen footage of major volcanic eruptions and I do not believe it to be a stretch to say that volcanoes are not of the self-conscious sort. On the contrary, a volcano is not afraid to allow the magma it has stored beneath its rocky surface to be expelled into the sky and into the surrounding area. It does not say to itself that perhaps it should hold back a little and practice some self-control. Rather, it allows its lava to overflow from within and to freely pour itself over the landscape. Granted a volcanic eruption is devastating and never pleasant. But there is much to learn from its boldness.

We as humans are so unlike volcanoes. Too often we keep things to ourselves and shy away from expressing what God has done and is doing in our lives. Perhaps we fear of becoming an eyesore to others if we show His love and tell of his righteousness, and thus we resign ourselves to going with the crowd; making sure that no one knows of the work which Christ is doing within us. But when we do this, we deprive ourselves of the chance to grow in our faith and see God at work in the lives of others. When we have allowed Christ to enter our hearts and seek to abide with Him, He will cause His love and righteousness to overflow from within us. As Paul wrote to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:7 “…God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love…”  His Spirit will embolden us to show His love to others, tell them of His righteousness with our lives, and speak of His faithfulness to us. Unlike a volcano, the overflow that will come from within us when we allow Christ’s Spirit to carry out His work will not destroy. Instead, it will only bring healing and life to all as He is made manifest in our words and actions.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.