In the first post of this series, I addressed the human heart both before and after God gets ahold of it. (You can read it by following the link http://wp.me/pR92x-1E or scrolling down.) The second post dealt with how people, their families and the church need to work together to see God's work on the heart become manifest in all our lives. (Again either scroll down or follow this link to that post, http://wp.me/pR92x-1M ).
This is probably the final post of the series. While I believe the content of this post (and series) will be food for thought for months to come, this is the final piece of the family ministry puzzle, at least for me. Some may argue that this post should be first in the series. I can see that, but I put it here probably because I wanted to "save the best for last", hoping that it would have more impact.
When we talk about the heart of the matter being the heart, the question must arise, what does God's heart look like and how should that affect us?" The Bible has a lot to say about God's heart and what it does on behalf of His people.
God's heart is holy and blameless. He is separate from us, different, set apart. His heart is also blameless, there can be no fault found in Him. In other words He is perfect.
If God is perfect, what does He expect from His followers? At the core of God's expectations is for His followers to be like Him, holy and blameless. Anyone who is even vaguely familiar with their sin understands that this is impossible for us to do and be on our own. God makes His expectations clear throughout His Word. Here is a list of what God expects from His followers (and just like the previous posts the description is followed by the number of times it appears in the Bible): - to love Him with all our HEART, SOUL, MIND, and STRENGTH (5) - to SERVE Him with our whole Heart and Mind (2) - to FEAR Him in our hearts - to have a Circumcised heart Not only it impossible for us to be holy and blameless on our own, the above list adds to that impossibility. We don't have anything within us that makes this possible. We need something to change about who we are, we need heart change.
How does God bring about this heart change? He: - Tests (3) - Searches (2) - Knows (2) - Weighs - Judges - Directs - Guards - puts His law on our hearts This is what He does. Why? He is the only one who can. God is the only one who has the power, the authority, and the will to bring about heart change. Why is that? He is the sovereign Creator of our heart. Some people in the Christian community think that they are persuasive enough and logical enough to bring about this change. They are wrong! At best, persuasive and logical arguments, can have an emotional response. God is the only one who can change the heart.
So, what does God's law on our hearts look like? What does God "bring to the table"? He brings: - a New Heart (2) - His Steadfast Love - Direction - Right Precepts - Joy - the Establishment of steps - Courage - Peace This is what most people are searching for! God has these things and is willing to give them to us as we come to understand who He is (theology) and what He does (Gospel restoration). We need God to do this. This will fill our hearts with what it desires most.
How does God do this for us? He does this through a personal relationship with Him. How do we experience this relationship? The easiest way I can explain it is spending time in His Word. Through His Word we hear His voice, through prayer He hears our voice. That's relationship, one to another. Why do we need His Word? It DISCERNS His will so we can understand it!
So, the heart of the matter is the HEART! Getting the heart of God into His people. Families and churches working together with Him, to protect what He has been and continues to do. Think of it like a triangle. At each point, there is God, His people (corporate), and us (individual). In order for our hearts to be truly changed we need all three. To be missing one, any one, the cycle breaks.
God, do whatever you need to do, to get our Your words on our hearts. To bring You glory, to serve one another, and to bring about the next generation of Your people.