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Heart for God?

A few years ago a man came to the prayer centre where I work in great turmoil.  He said “I invited Jesus into my heart 10 years ago and I think I meant it and I think I felt His presence.  But I don’t feel His presence any more.  I think I’ve finally quenched the Spirit through my sins and now He’s left me.”

The guy seemed to know his bible very well.  So I said “Can you think of any verses that talk about 'inviting Jesus into your heart'?”

He thought and said “No, I don't think I can.” (I mean there is stuff about Jesus coming to live in us (e.g. John 14:17) but that's not really the same thing). So I said to him, "You know what is in the bible...?"  We spoke of the High Priest’s clothing in Exodus 28 and 29.

"Take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel in the order of their birth--six names on one stone and the remaining six on the other.  Engrave the names of the sons of Israel on the two stones the way a gem cutter engraves a seal. Then mount the stones in gold filigree settings and fasten them on the shoulder pieces of the ephod as memorial stones for the sons of Israel. Aaron is to bear the names on his shoulders as a memorial before the LORD...."Whenever Aaron enters the Holy Place, he will bear the names of the sons of Israel over his heart on the breastpiece of decision as a continuing memorial before the LORD.   (Exodus 28:9-29)

"Here's the bottom line" I said “Christ, your High Priest has you on His heart.  My feelings go up and down.  Christ stays up – all the time.  And you’ll only feel Him in your heart (sporadically) when you know you’re on His heart, forever."

The centre of the Christian life is not your personal relationship with God.  The centre of the Christian life is Christ’s personal relationship with God.  But the good news is - Christ includes you in His communion.

Here's a 1 minute video on the topic:

https://vimeo.com/45630334

7 thoughts on “Heart for God?

  1. Brian Midmore

    Yes the objective truth of our salvation is all important, but the subjective reality of it is vital too. Its hard to go for too feeling as though you are cut off from God. When I feel cut off from God it is usually down to the sin of unbelief. I recently had this experience but I realised it was unbelief and confessed this to God and the unbelief lifted. Beware lest there be in your midst an evil heart of unbelief in falling away from the living God. If we confess our sins God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

  2. Brian Midmore

    I agree, but as I young Christian (now this 40 yrs ago) I was told to look to Christ. But I find this a bit like 'ask Jesus into your heart' yes it is scriptural 'looking unto Jesus the author....etc' but what does it mean? Does it mean see 'Jesus with ones spiritual eyes? or 'contemplate the gospel' or 'pray'. If you are beset by unbelief any of these may prove impossible. At least if we go down the road of confession we can do this with a minimum of faith, i.e the faith that believes that God is and that I am not believing as I should. This is looking to Jesus I suppose but it is looking to a Jesus I just about believe in.

  3. Michael Baldwin

    "Relationship with God" talk can seem so gospelly and yet at the same time be a legalism of the heart (or emotions for that matter). It absolutely fuels (and in turn is fuelled by) justification-as-a-process ways of thinking. For all Mahaney's shortcomings I'll never forget reading his book on the cross as a teenager and realizing that all this time I still believed in the back of my mind that I needed to keep the plates spinning (evangelism/church-going/Bible-reading/school CU-leading)to be accepted by God.

    If we agree that "ask Jesus into your heart" isn't the best response to the good news, what would you say or do with someone if they expressed a desire to be saved? To know whether they had really repented so that you could say at the end of the conversation- "you are now united to Jesus"?

  4. Glen

    If the person is not yet a member of the church then I think I'd keep it in terms of Christ's offer of Himself (more than the person's possession of Christ). To say "Jesus is given to you" is a promise intended to awaken faith. If they trust the promise then they do indeed have Christ (by that same faith). But I'm not sure I'd tell them about the state of their own heart - I'd seek to reassure them about the disposition of Christ's.

    Of course in baptism we really do make those promises to people in the triune name - they belong to Christ and Christ belongs to them. At that point (and from then on) you address them as members of Christ Himself.

    I reckon.

  5. Nick

    I think I understand where your man was coming from, because although the objective nature of salvation is as you state, it seems also that Christians are expected to routinely share a subjective experience. For instance Ephesians 1:13,14 which speaks of a guarantee - i.e. something we can take hold of in the here and now - of our future inheritance. What would you say - should all Christians expect to have some experience of the Spirit in their lives, or are some doomed always to rely on their heads telling their hearts that all is well?

  6. Glen

    Hi Nick,

    I think the Word needs to tell our hearts that all is well. I think that this *is* the work of the Spirit and it *is* what faith is. It would be very easy to mistake an excitement of the flesh for a work of the Spirit. We're on safest ground when we keep Word and Spirit together. I notice that Eph 1 does just that: "You also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit"

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