A Matter of the Heart

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Above all else, the Christian life is a love affair of the heart. It cannot be lived primarily as a set of principles or ethics. It cannot be managed with steps and programs. It cannot be lived exclusively as a moral code leading to righteousness. In response to a religious expert who asked him what he must do to obtain real life, Jesus asked a question in return:

“What is written in the Law? . . . How do you read it?”
He answered: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” (Luke 10:26-28)

The truth of the gospel is intended to free us to love God and others with our whole heart. When we ignore this heart aspect of our faith and try to live out our religion solely as correct doctrine or ethics, our passion is crippled, or perverted, and the divorce of our soul from the heart purposes of God toward us is deepened.

–Brent Curtis & John Eldredge
The Sacred Romance

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Published in: on 03/29/2018 at 8:50  Leave a Comment  
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He is pursuing our heart

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The gospel says that we, who are God‘s beloved, created a cosmic crisis. It says we, too, were stolen from our True Love and that he launched the greatest campaign in the history of the world to get us back. God created us for intimacy with him.

When we turned our back on him
he promised to come for us.

He sent personal messengers; he used beauty and affliction to recapture our hearts. After all else failed, he conceived the most daring of plans. Under the cover of night he stole into the enemy’s camp incognito, the Ancient of Days disguised as a newborn. The Incarnation, as Phil Yancey reminds us, was a daring raid into enemy territory. The whole world lay under the power of the evil one and we were held in the dungeons of darkness.

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God risked it all to rescue us. Why? What is it that he sees in us that causes him to act the jealous lover, to lay siege both on the kingdom of darkness and on our own idolatries as if on Troy—not to annihilate, but to win us once again for himself? This fierce intention, this reckless ambition that shoves all conventions aside, willing literally to move heaven and earth—what does he want from us?

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We’ve been offered many explanations. From one religious camp we’re told that what God wants is obedience, or sacrifice, or adherence to the right doctrines, or morality. Those are the answers offered by conservative churches. The more therapeutic churches suggest that no, God is after our contentment, or happiness, or self-actualization, or something else along those lines. He is concerned about all these things, of course, but they are not his primary concern.

What he is after is us—
our laughter, our tears, our dreams,
our fears, our heart of hearts.

Remember his lament in Isaiah, that though his people were performing all their duties, “their hearts are far from me” (29:13 italics added). How few of us truly believe this. We’ve never been wanted for our heart, our truest self, not really, not for long.

The thought that God wants our heart
seems too good to be true.

–Brent Curtis & John Eldredge
“The Sacred Romance”
(emphasis added)

 

The Sacred Romance

Someone or something has romanced us from the beginning with creek-side singers and pastel sunsets, with the austere majesty of snow capped mountains and the poignant flames of autumn colors telling us of something – or someone – leaving with a promise to return. These things can, in an unguarded moment, bring us to our knees with longing for this something or someone who is lost; someone or something only our hearts recognizes.

–John Eldredge

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