What’s the Temperature of Your Heart?
by Melody Green
Where did January go? It’s a question I always ask myself around this time of year.
We’re already 6 weeks into the new year. I know that for sure because everywhere I go there are big red hearts reminding me it’s almost that day. February 14th, Valentine’s Day.
Valentine's Day is a day when couples declare or reaffirm their love for each other, with gifts from the simple to the elaborate. Valentine cards go out in every direction -- to parents, children, grandparents, friends, brothers, sisters, and even pets. It has become a day to tell all those you love, that you do.
It can be a wonderful day as long as it’s not the only day you express your feelings -- like people who only remember God on Christmas and Easter in hopes of staying in His good standing. In that case, words and gifts of love are only hollow reminders of what’s not really there.
However, this message is not meant as a poke about getting it together for Valentine’s Day. Rather, it’s about taking note of how far into 2009 we already are.
Like most of you, I pray about new or ongoing goals every year -- things I feel God wants me to focus on both spiritually and in the practical. Also like many of you by mid-February I’ve either failed or compromised some of my best intentions and feel like an utter failure -- especially with the things directly regarding my walk with the Lord.
However, I’ve been thinking... perhaps the “love fest” around Valentine’s Day might also serve as a mid-February reminder of something else. No. Someone else.
I Pledge My Heart
I was an adult the day I pledged my life and love to God, so I can remember the exact moment. I was trembling with fear and excitement at the same time. Since then I’ve sung, “I am my Beloved’s and He is Mine” countless times. I’ve managed to follow Jesus for three decades or perhaps I should say He’s not let me go in that amount of time. Still I can’t honestly say I’ve spent everyday purposefully drawing closer to Him. What about you?
We are in a time of history when more than ever we must draw closer to God. The enemy (helped by our apathy) has woven his way into society in a charming yet alarmingly cunning way. Good and evil aren’t as easy to discern as they used to be. Now the bad guy often rides the white horse -- and can sound convincingly reasonable anf fair-minded..
I’m not talking about any person in particular, but rather the worldly views and the “tug of wrongs” that have become socially acceptable. These things are voiced eloquently by some of the biggest and brightest. Many of them espousing tolerance as the highest road, while believing biblical morals and values are mostly silly and prehistoric. Also that the people who believe in these things are, well -- rather dangerous. I’ve heard this shocking opinion on the "respected" news channels more than once. Where might this be heading?
The Greatest Love of Our Life?
Our relationship with God is the most important love relationship in our lives. Everything else springs from it. This is not a time to coast along. There are battles raging and we need to get with it. Our past spiritual experiences and teachings, as solid as they may have been, are not going to fuel our spirit for today ...or tomorrow. We need to be actively growing in our walk with God. Pressing in to find out what He’s doing on earth today so we can be involved with the things on His heart now.
That’s exactly what someone in love does.
When people fall in love their two hearts become strongly bonded, almost like one ...especially in the beginning. They often finish each others sentences. If they don’t stay deeply connected all their lives, they won’t notice, or even care, as the shifting winds of change and emerging interests, arise in the hearts of their loved ones. We need to stay tuned-in to stay in love.
That’s exactly how to stay in love with God.
God does not change in character or nature, but He does emphasize different things in different seasons. He is not static, but dynamic and always on the move unfolding His ultimate destiny for mankind. God has an action plan outlined in the Bible, and admittedly it’s a bit difficult to understand sometimes. So we need to stay tuned-in, keep watch, study, ask the hard questions and keep pressing in for a deeper intimacy with Him.
We do need at least some understanding of what God is up to today. We should also know what His enemies are saying and doing -- so we can cooperate with the Lord in the battle. He might want to hand out new assignments to some of us. If we're not connected we won't notice.
If we’ve made a pledge to follow Him it’s our responsibility to keep pace, so we can move when He does. It may not be a physical move -- but we need to pray in an informed and strategic way . Our prayers need to be in alignment with God’s focus for the earth today. This is of course different than our personal prayers for our needs and those we love.
So What's The Temperature of Your Heart?
Let’s examine our love life with the Lord -- and take our temperatures. Are we hot -- vibrantly pressing in, pursuing, and growing? Have we cooled down since the honeymoon -- still together, warm but nonchalant, doing just the minimum to get by? Are we cold -- not together anymore, not pretending, don't care?
We already know our temperature matters to Jesus. He was clear about it. He wants us to be passionate, fiery hot for Him. To genuinely love Him back. The polar opposites are the cold...who blatantly reject God's ways, and therefore His love. And the lukewarm? Well, they make Him utterly sick enough to puke. Jesus knows exactly what to do with the hot and the cold. However the lukewarm, well, they turn His stomach and I imagine cause Him pain everyday. Think about being married to someone and just pouring out your life for them, but they take you for granted, stop trying to know your heart, and could care less about how they make you feel. Painful.
"I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor not. I wish you were either one or the other! so because you are lukewarm -- neither hot nor cold -- I am about to spit you out my mouth." (Rev. 3:15-16 NIV) I think this was an incredible statement for God to make to those He loves. But on the day each of stand before Him, our temperature will be apparent. However, we never need to fall into the lukewarm category. We don't have to hurt God by being so near, yet so far away.
We can all decide to go deeper with God from whatever point we're at right now. If you're cold decide to get warm, with the intention of getting hot. If you’re lukewarm, decide to get hot. If you’re hot -- get even hotter! Jesus deserves nothing less because He loved us first. Let’s this Valentine’s Day provoke us to go deeper, further, more passionately into the heart of God. We can cultivate a greater intimacy with Him. It's not a matter of works. It's a matter of the heart. A heart of love craves intimacy with the ones it loves.
Time. Talk. Touch.
Loving God is the most important love relationship in our lives. Similar to an earthly marriage, intimacy develops over time and is made up of three elements. Time, talk, and touch. On some levels we probably all need to develop deeper intimacy with the Lord.
When we love God we’ll spend time with Him. We’ll talk to Him. We’ll listen to what He wants to say to us. We’ll ask questions to find out more than we already know. We’ll read all the love letters He wrote to us over and over -- each time trying to see if we can find something new and wonderful, a greater meaning or implication. We’ll touch God’s heart by caring about what He cares about, and by doing what He asks us to do. We touch His heart when we receive His love. We also touch God’s heart when we receive His correction Time. Talk. Touch.
I Am My Beloveds and He is Mine
Without genuine intimacy with God it will be hard to stand firm in the coming days... or decades. We desperately need wisdom and discernment to avoid being swept away by the unsound doctrines of men. There are so many wrong ideas, sounding way too logical. We have to keep our edge. None of us are beyond being deceived. If we are leaning on the arm of our Beloved we’ll remain strong and focused, even in the most treacherous of times -- personally or globally.
We are definitely in a season when our hearts need to fiery hot and growing in the spirit of wisdom and revelation. This is the only way we'll have the courage and discernment we'll need to stay strong. Let’s pray for this and press into God to have it. And if nobody on earth has told you lately that they love you, rest your head on Jesus’ chest and hear His heart beating just for you.
He is our Savior. Our Redeemer. Our Friend. I took my temperature and it needs to go up. What about yours?
Your Fellow Struggler,
Melody Green, 2/12/2009