Friday, July 24, 2009

Day 54 of Bible in 90 Days--Circumcise Your Hearts

Jeremiah 4:4 “Circumcise your hearts” (Also Deut 10:16 & 30:6 plus allusions in the NT?)
Consider what this really says. Cut away the extra parts? The dead parts? Cut and remove. Sounds painful. It is painful. After circumcision, a time of healing is required, so it must be painful. Cut into your heart, the very center of your being. This is major surgery. I think this is why so many Christians stay on the surface and the fringes—they’re keeping it safe, avoiding the pain, protecting their hearts from this knife. But this is what God requires of us to be truly, wholly his: to submit to the knife, to walk through the pain and into the healing of his love and grace. Otherwise, these are merely distant concepts that we know only in theory. No wonder so many Christians are not exhibiting Christ-like behavior. After the cutting, a heart is open to loving others, but without the cutting, there’s too much extra stuff in the way. We’re too busy protecting ourselves to even begin to touch others. Instead of loving, we push them away, keeping them behind the line that defines our safety zone. And that’s where we keep God, too, because ultimately we sense that he is the bearer of the knife. We fear that he wants more than we can give. We think he’ll ask us to give up or cut off things we don’t want to do without, or to go places we don’t want to go, or be something we don’t want to be. Well, he might, but once we let him cross the line and open our hearts, we find that we'd gladly give up some of these things rather than go back to life without him.

I know it was like this with me. For years, I was standing on the other side of the line, only in my mind it was a fence. I was standing on the outside looking in at passionate Christians thinking I could never be like that, that I didn't want to be like that. But in the process I was also holding in a lot of hurt, and the circumcision I was avoiding exposed all that. I was holding God off in the distance so I didn't have to face the hurt. Instead I was busy being tough, and hurting a lot of other people in the process. I can't even imagine who all those people might be, so if you're reading this and you're one of those, I'm sorry. I hope I'm not at all like that anymore.

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