Life Garden Guides: Reflections of His Heart
(Identifying Spirit/Soul Conditions)
(2 Corinthians 3:17-18)
The heart of our heavenly Father is for us to be more like His Son, therefore to be reflections of His heart in our words and deeds. God doesn't expect us to be perfect; this is impossible for man; only He is perfect; however, He wants to see us making a continual effort to follow the way Jesus taught while on earth. Our salvation is not based on our works; Jesus did "the" most important work on the cross to save us. Once saved, God builds our faith in Him, by showing us His faithfulness. Our faith is not instantaneously great; it takes time to grow, but the more we trust and obey our Shepherd, the faster it grows. Spiritual rewards come to God's righteous children, as they spend time renewing their minds with Him in the Word (Rom. 12:1-3), their love for Him then deepening from experiencing Him. The natural progression of this love is to desire to do Kingdom work for Him. Is this not how we feel and act with those we cherish? Sometimes we can't do enough for them because of our great love and desire to prove it, and so it is in our relationship with Jesus. In truth, the Word tells us faith without works, is dead (James 2:14-26). Works, however, are not only things we accomplish. Works are also evidences from us of God operating in us. We also learn in the Word there are rewards for our works (1 Cor. 3:5-15). Since He is omniscient, He already knows our heart motives (Ps. 19).
If we say our faith is strong, and truly love Jesus above all else, and if we are faithfully walking in the Spirit (not our own flesh or self), yet do nothing for Him, our actions are not revealing what we speak. Love is a spiritual fruit (Gal. 5:16- 26). The fruits should be evident to others, if we are true Christ followers; we should work at not backsliding; and we should no longer sin intentionally. When saved, we are made right with the Father, spiritually, but our past ungodly habits and behaviors don't all suddenly disappear. Some do, usually through prayer and sincere laying down of sin, but with God's help the process occurs over time (sanctification). The more time a believer spends around those with the fruits, the more they should want to be like them. Therefore, the more time spent with Jesus, the more His fruit, overflowing from the Word, will transform our minds into being like Him. Could there be a better role model than God?
The heart of God, through Jesus, is pure, and why He was chosen as the spotless final Lamb sacrifice. While in the Word, the Spirit has stirred me to learn more about the hearts of man. Some are Light-filled, containing God's Son, though still wounded from life encounters with darkness; some are Lightless, never having known Him. Some have known Him, but rejected Him. Acts 26 tells of Paul's conversion. Father wants none to perish (2 Pet. 3). All seek Light.
As I studied about heart matters in the Word, I was often convicted of my own heart conditions which I committed to work on, with the Spirit's continual guidance. I was also given new insight about others; the result was a new compassion for them. These are then God-led ideas, for they lead to good. Ideas that hurt hearts, are not God-based, and stem from the enemy or our own flesh. One of the Holy Spirit's key purposes, is to convict us of sin, opening our eyes to discern the difference between good and evil, then to bring our hearts to repent (turn from sin). When our identity is established in Christ, we know who we are, in Him, and we have a confidence that cannot be penetrated by anyone. The book, Victory Over Darkness by Neil Anderson, helps us establish our identity in Jesus. Reflections of His Heart brings to our awareness, a number of heart conditions, from merry to embittered. May the samplings here touch your own heart and confirm what you believe, begin needed healing, or cause you to seek Him more.
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© Carolyn W. Patrinicola 2005;
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