I think we’re all afforded lots of opportunities to have crappy hearts. I mean we are humans and we live in the world with other humans; every one of us a sinner. The excuses for maintaining messy, broken, unhealed, and locked up hearts is almost understandable. It’s easier.
Every day we’re given a choice to get up and conquer the things the Lord puts in our path with a healthy, whole, beautiful heart or with a hardened, unhealthy, unable heart.
God is in the heart-winning business and in order to win hearts and souls to Him, I need my heart to be healthy, whole, and beautiful. It does take some work to keep a beautiful heart, one that will likely be damaged and broken. It reminds me of how Jesus must have felt so often – no, I’m not comparing myself to Jesus… 😉 I think about how brokenhearted He was on a regular basis, yet He kept on. He knew and understood His goal and purpose. Think about the work we can do for Him when we understand our goal and purpose. Think about how our hearts can attract some of the most damaged, broken, hurting hearts if we allow ours to be beautiful and seen.
Proverbs 4:23 tells us that above all else, we need to guard our hearts. I used to really struggle with that verse and in some ways, I still do. I believe some people use it as an excuse to keep their hearts so hidden they’re not able to be vulnerable. If we’re so busy hiding our hearts or keeping them locked away and safe; how can they become beautiful and able to be used for God’s purposes? I understand the point of the verse… to be cautious. Be aware. I also understand our human flesh nature to justify keeping our hearts in a safe, locked box with Scripture as the excuse. Let’s not do that, okay?
Most of us know the popular C.S. Lewis quote from his book, The Four Loves, “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
This is quite possibly my favorite statement. In a world where it’s so easy to stay locked away, not engaged with others, locked up in spirit and in heart, I’m always drawn back to this quote… and remind myself to never be in the place where it’s easy for my heart to survive. Sometimes it’s gonna be really hard on our hearts, it’s going to be hard to keep them beautiful. It’s going to be hard to understand why God is allowing us to experience some of the things that will come with an open heart.
Let’s be in a place where we’re consistently desiring to maintain a beautiful heart. It means being in a position of vulnerability, being teachable, and it also means the Holy Spirit will have easy access to the gaps and spaces that need work in us.