The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?
That’s a marvelous question, and a great way to start off this long overdue blog. My heart is something I have tried time and time again to conquer, but as a mel I am easily destroyed by deceit and fall in too many vicious cycles. It was not until this semester at KSU I finally began to make sense of the missing piece in this cruel jigsaw puzzle.
The first tidbit of awesome advice came from good ol’ Keith McCallum as I sulked in his office one night. He called me out on my mopey attitude, and I could not find a straight answer for the life of me, I just felt worthless for no good reason. He revealed to me just how easily deceived I am as a dominant melancholy, and that it is in fact Satan’s greatest tool against mels like us. This was a very difficult lesson for Keith to learn as he told me of the heartbreak it took him to understand this strange phenomenon. What it came down to for him was how much he kept to himself and how a small seed of guilt, pain, sorrow, or whatever feeling it might hold will seep into every crevice in both the mind and heart. Now THAT was something that struck me with the force of a lightning bolt from Zeus! Thoughts started clicking more than a round of applause at a café‘s poetry night as to how much this reflected my character. He went on to say how CRUCIAL it is to be open and have light remove all the darkness from the depths of my very soul. With this new insight fresh in my mind, I began to see the world in a new light.
My next step came along as tension rose between me and my roommate Alex the German Viking. There is a great verse that summed up our relationship:
He who loves a quarrel loves sin. He who builds high walls invites destruction.
In short, he enjoys conflict and I enjoy solitude. Bring us into a room together (especially after a rough day) and sparks would fly more intensely than a mechanic’s metal grinder. The beautiful point about our relationship was the fact that we both knew something was wrong and so mutually slowly grew to understand each other. We would seek advice about how to deal with the other person from multiple sources (eg. scripture, elders, each other), and it really showed how much we cared about deepening our relationship. It was a rough path, but over time we became much closer and the tension vanished faster than a magician’s quarter. Another roommate of ours has been commenting this past week just how amazed he is at the fact that Viking and I do not argue anymore, and better yet how we appreciate each other’s company.
At this point I began to feel overjoyed as to how much the Lord has been changing my life, and what is sweeter than sugar is it does not end there! Ever since I set foot into the college life I have been stumbling around more than a drunk after a wedding with an open bar. I could not get my act together when it came to getting work done and especially when it came to the issue of procrastination. For over a year now I have had doubts about pursuing a college education, and was becoming overly depressed when it came to any sort of thought pertaining to my future. I was given scriptural advice time and time again, but I could just not seem to understand the finer points that held the concept together. Matthew 6 was a popular choice, and for good reason.
Matthew 6:25, 27, 31-34
31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
The concept I could not understand for the longest time was how to apply these verses in a practical sense. I mean how can I focus on the kingdom of God when I have a paper due tomorrow? How can that possibly help me in such a situation? Aside from the fact this question should be reversed (how can I focus on a paper when I’m welcomed into God’s kingdom?), it ultimately came down to the discipline needed to accomplish such tasks in the first place. There is a gorgeous little idea called priorities that really puts everything in perspective (pardon the pun), and has been an essential tool in my new found grip on school. Even with adding late night hours to my already tiring job I have been able to handle a larger class load with much busy work seeping from each one. I have begun to understand the depth of focusing on God’s kingdom, and let me tell you it is a magnificent discovery.
Okay, so here comes the answer to the famous question posted at the start of this blog. Bear with me for I have a line up of verses that fit together nicely in the train of thought I have come across.
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
1 Corinthians 2:10-13
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.
Ezekial 11:19 [say the Lord through his prophet to those exiled from Israel]
Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.
2 Chronicles 16:9
For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.
So in essence as being dead to sin through acceptance of God’s grace through Christ’s sacrifice, we find ourselves with a new identity complete with a new heart (or at least one in the progress of being made into flesh). Many people try to understand what makes their heart tick, but they fail to understand just how vain their attempts are. Those who focus on God and his Word have understanding and an increased sense of faith, but not through our own efforts but rather through the insight our Lord has shown us. In having focus on the Lord, our faith in him grows and he strengthens us.
I can truly relate with this last point in having my faith being strengthened through the Word. I enjoy memorizing verses and when I go through my list I feel connected to what God is all about. If I have been going through a rough spell, it is always connected to a lack of getting into my memory verses, or anything related to the bible. Romans 10:17 is a powerful verse in my eyes, for it truly shows the power of the Word in very simple terms. This is especially critical in understanding who I am, for death has seemed to surround me back before I knew God, and it was something I considered back then. When I feel extremely overwhelmed and stressed out, I begin to diverge back into such a state of mind, and it is a scary world to live in. I feel hopeless and pointless, especially when it comes to my relationship with God and his body. Having the Word at hand is such a lifeline for me, as well as the loving relationships the Lord has blessed me with.
2 Corinthians 1:9
Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves, but on God who raises the dead.
Like I said, this semester at KSU has been an interesting experience, and it is going to kick my ass. I am excited though, because the discipline behind the structure of my calendar is very sturdy, and if I am able to make it through the other side on top of everything, then I am confident in saying I will be much stronger in character and in faith.
Praise God for his love, discipline and patience!