Sunday, July 22, 2012

Secrets of the Heart

By Allen White 

As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart. Proverbs 27:19

The Queen in Snow White inquires, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, Who’s the fairest of them all?”

Mirror: “Not you.” (Allen White Version)

We can’t see ourselves directly. As I’m sitting here typing, I can see my hands and arms. I can see my legs. I can see the rim of my glasses. But, I can’t see my hair, my eyes, my nose, or my ears. The only way I have any idea of what I look like is from the image in a mirror or in a photo or video.

Truthfully, I often like the idea of what I look like rather than the reality of it. In my mind, I still look much like I did in college. But, the scale reveals I weigh nearly twice as much as I did then. And, the mail reveals my 25th college reunion is approaching. How could this be? I’m so young and fit -- in my mind.

All of us tend to think the best of ourselves, then we get a glimpse revealing we’re not as good as we think we are. I’m not saying we’re all bad, but we’re certainly not all good either.

Just like the mirror reveals the condition of our appearance, our hearts reveal the condition of our souls. Are we jealous? Are we angry? Are we fearful? What are our hearts telling us.

Over the years, so much of discipleship and spiritual growth has focused on “neck up” exercises. The more we know, the more we grow, right? Not necessarily. As one author put it, “Most Christians are already educated well beyond their level of obedience.” Ouch.

Our hearts reveal our condition. But, our hearts speak differently than our minds. For instance, I’m not sure anyone has ever purchased a car as the result of a rational decision. We usually go on the lot and choose a car we will…love. Then, we buy something slightly more expensive than what we intended to. The rationale comes afterward in justifying the purchase and figuring out how we can afford the “low monthly payments.”

What do our hearts “say” about our spiritual condition? What makes us anxious? What threatens us? What irritates us? What excites us? What helps us feel calm? These indicators show us the condition of our soul.

If our hearts only longed for good things, then we would be good people through and through. If our hearts only longed for evil things, then we would be truly evil people. The problem is none of us fits neatly into either category. Sometimes good people harbor evil thoughts in their hearts. Sometimes bad people surprise us and do something good. Sometimes it’s hard to tell which is which.

The goal is not to live a perfect life, but we must live an informed life. Our information should come from several sources. Certainly our mind and our thoughts make a contribution. But, our heart is quite a blabbermouth in revealing our spiritual condition.

What is your heart telling you? What are you angry about? What are you sad about? What are you afraid of? If you’re not sure, get out a sheet of paper and write one of these questions at the top. Then, start writing the answers. God will help you grow in ways you never realized you needed to grow.

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