FROM THE ABUNDANCE OF THE HEART
Have you ever heard it said that there is a place in all of us that only God can fill? For certain, we all have a void that needs to be filled by the presence of God, via the Holy Spirit in our hearts and lives. But it can also be filled with the wrong thing or things. Many of us know from personal experience that when we first become believers, we find pure joy and a peace from the Lord that surpasses any other kind of peace.
It is life-changing when we turn from self-lordship and submit our lives to Father God as true Lord. We go from lost to found, from the bondage of sin to freedom in Christ and no longer wanting to sin. We go from hell-bound to heaven-bound! And those of us with this experience, know that in time, if we are not careful, we can lose that wonderful peace and true joy we acquired. The old selfish nature longs to creep back in. And the devil and his evil forces want us to stumble more than ever. The world and the people of it, would pull us back into it with the blink of an eye. We learn that we cannot serve the Lord and this world too. Our hearts, if not guarded, can have less of the Lord in them and more of things they shouldn't.
Becoming born-again is just the beginning. We must guard our hearts from the old nature by denying it daily (crucifying it). We must keep our distance from being pulled back into the world and follow the Lord closely, keeping our ears open to Him and shut to the enemy. We have to learn God’s Word so that it can be effective in our lives and so it’s truth can guide us and in knowing it, we can recognize the lies of the enemy.
Even though I have been a Christian for many years, I recently fell into a trap of the enemy by allowing myself to become more full of something else than the Lord. As spirit beings, our spirits are invisible. But we are guided by them. If we are in submission to the Lord, then the Holy Spirit guides us from there. If our hearts (which are really the centers of our spirits) can get distracted enough, we can lose that incredible peace and joy we once had and if not corrected, can even go astray. I did not consciously choose to forsake the Lord, but I allowed a distraction in my life that became all consuming. I literally felt like it was trying to take over lordship. This problem is not unique to me. For many, it comes in the form of a cell phone, gaming, Facebook or even something as seemingly innocent as working out. None of these are bad in themselves, no more than my hobby was… until, it became all consuming. I began to work on it in all my spare time or I was thinking about it night and day. Someone else might get carried away by work or ambition. Or perhaps another person, a spouse or love interest. But no person or thing, should ever become more consuming in our hearts than the Lord.
In John 15:1-8, the Lord Jesus explains how we need to abide in Him and He will abide in us. He also explains what happens if we do not. He loves us and wants us to find our life in Him. Then He goes on to say more in the following verses.
We must abide in the Lord. Jesus is the vine and we are the branches that come from Him. I believe the Holy Spirit in us, is the life-giving force we need spiritually, just as a physical vine needs to be alive with its sap and the nutrients within to live. A poor source naturally would produce a poor vine. But a thriving vine, must be thriving internally to be the best.
We must have the Holy Spirit in us and be full of Him, and not ourselves or anything else. I like to think of our hearts as having a throne upon them. And the question is always, who is on that throne? Lordship means total submission to whoever or whatever is lord. It could be self, good works, alcohol or drugs, another person, a career, anything, even a ministry. I found out the hard way that even a hobby could become all consuming.
We must keep the Lord first. It is the greatest mistake and a horrible sin to forsake Him. And as we see in this verse, He is the fountain of living waters. And when we allow anything else to take us over, it is like we choose broken cisterns in place of the Lord, that cannot even hold water. And it is not only bad for us, but it is an insult to the Lord.
As you can imagine, I repented and threw myself upon the mercy of the Lord. But my heart had become so dry, I needed a miracle to even start to refill again. Praise the Lord that He helped me even to do that. As I started singing and worshiping the Lord from my heart, I could feel my heart begin to soften and as I yielded to the Holy Spirit, healing and refilling began. Paul in his letter to the Romans said the following to them.
We cannot overflow with something we do not have. If we are full of anything besides the Lord, that is what we will overflow with. Jesus said that the mouth speaks out of the abundance of the heart. Bless the Lord, He never gives up on us. I hope and pray that your heart is filled with the Lord today and if not, that you too would put out anything that has come between you and Him. The greatest peace and joy, belong to those who choose to heed the Word of God and the voice of the Holy Spirit!
Eli Cockrell and Carmen Pușcaș share thoughts about the end times and life as a Christian in the world we live in today.