Blessed are those whose hearts are pure and uncluttered...
When the seasons change, I tend to revisit my New Year’s Resolutions, usually to find that the resolutions having the highest priority have been left unresolved. Leaving me to wonder, why are these perceived necessary and important changes to my life so difficult for me to follow through? One of these changes at the top of my list is to deepen my relationship with God, more specifically, to be in relationship with God. The operative word describing the nature of my relationship with God is “in,” making my relationship with God personal.
I would like to share a short story with you that I experienced a couple of weeks ago while on our church high school mission trip to Omaha, NE. Toward the end of our week, my work crew was assigned to help another crew finish their painting project. The resident of the house, “Mark” was an older man who had been in prison during his younger years and is now a recovering drug addict. He has become very active in a rehab program at his church and hopes to help others recover from their addiction. Our work days include a daily devotion time and Mark chose to join us for our devotion time on our last day.
The devotion focused on the changes we had experienced by coming on the trip. One question asked, “What would you have missed if you had chosen to not come on this mission trip?” The members of the work crews thoughtfully responded to this question. Mark, then said, “he would have missed getting to know these young people that willingly volunteered to give up a week of their summer to come and work in Omaha. Then, I heard Mark say something so simple, and so profound. “If you make room in your heart for Jesus, He will come into your heart.”
It was the first part of his statement that resonated with me, “If you make room in your heart for Jesus.” Making room, implies there must be some rearrangement of priorities and things to make room for Jesus. Actions must be taken to intentionally create space for Jesus. The clutter within my life, the time I spend doing activities I am really not interested in, or the invitations I accept because I feel obligated to attend, or the nagging inner voice I hear reminding me of what I really should be doing when I take time to do something for myself… All have to be moved to make room for Jesus.
I have spoken before about the relationship between my clutter on the outside and my clutter on the inside, all preventing me from living authentically. Now, I see this clutter prevents me from being able to effectively make room for Jesus in my heart. This clutter is preventing me from being able to resolve my New Year’s Resolution to be in a deeper relationship with Jesus.
Then, during last Sunday’s church service, an Offering Invitation was given as items were collected for the Food Pantry. During this Offering Invitation, these words were spoken, “Blessed are those whose hearts are pure and uncluttered.”
When I heard these words, “Blessed are those whose hearts are pure and uncluttered”, I almost fell out of my seat! I am sure the person next to me heard me gasp.
More and more, I am realizing that God speaks to me through the people I encounter each day. God spoke clearly to me through Mark and in church on Sunday clearly delivering to me the message God desires for our hearts to be uncluttered. An uncluttered heart is open, unrestricted, and has space to be filled.
I am realizing that I have not been able to tackle my New Year’s Resolution to be in a deeper relationship with God, because I have been going about it the wrong way. I have been looking for God in the wrong places.
I have been trying to find a quiet time each day for God to be able to speak to me and so I may hear His quiet voice. I have been berating myself for not being able to make time for God everyday. All the while leaving me craving a deeper relationship with God, feeling like I am not completely full.
When I consider the people I hold in my heart, I physically and emotionally feel and think differently about these people and my relationship with them. These people I hold in my heart are special to me. We are connected to each other. I deeply care for these people. I love them. I make time for them when they call to talk. I listen to their stories with interest and am completely engaged. I can take my concerns to these people and they will also listen and try to help me. I am as important to them as they are to me. I am in relationship with these few people I hold in my heart.
To be in a personal relationship with God, I must make room for him in my heart. I must intentionally create space for God to dwell in my heart. I must unclutter my heart and make room for him.
Are you craving a deeper relationship with God? Do you feel like you are constantly trying new ways to be close to God and still not feeling any closer?
For one week, try beginning or ending your prayer time with these words, “God, I want to make room for you in my heart. Not in a superficial way, in a personal way. I want to intentionally make room within my heart for you. I pray that you will move within my heart and my life in clear and obvious ways.”
Notice during this week, how you feel at the beginning of the week, during the week, and at the end of the week. Notice in whom God may be speaking to you and notice what you hear God saying to you as you intentionally create space in your heart for God. Notice how God is moving within your heart in clear and obvious ways. Stay alert!!