Today’s post comes from Steve Hopper who works at the The Institute for Creation Research. Steve and I have been friends for a long time, and I have seen how he has preserved to hold on to his relationship with God through many of life’s ups and downs. Steve is a carrier of God’s heart and is quick to offer it to others. He holds a masters degree from Columbia International University.
Recently, I’ve been trying everything I can get my hands on related to the passions that God has given me including relating to others, using my mind, baseball and getting to know the Lord. The next logical step seems to be to ask God, “What is on your heart for me to do with this?” As I was thinking about it today, I realized that the first time I was given “permission” to engage my heart was more than 10 years ago in the book Sacred Romance, by Curtis and Eldredge. I have not always been balanced in this pursuit, but nonetheless, I am in the game.
How does one engage their heart?
1. Do Things You Love To Do
Writing blog posts just recently came up for me on my “things-to-do-with-my-time” list. So, 3 months ago I started a blog at CardsMerch.blogspot.com that has really been an outlet for my passions. I’m learning how to craft posts and how to use social media to drive hits to the blog and maximize potential views. I love doing this while I listen to or watch the St. Louis Cardinals play ball. But writing posts fulfills a deeper purpose. It’s a purpose that I think God is pleased with. Along the way what it has done for me is let me know that what I have to bring to the table is valid and that my opinions and stories matter. I might be a small bit of Cardinal Nation, but being engaged in this arena only helps me to be more alive in other areas of my life. This blog has been a recipient of some of that love. Jesus says, “Love me with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind” (Luke 10:27).
2. Spend Time With People Who Love You
(Love you for you and not what you do or do not do for them)
Over the past couple years, I have been fortunate to talk out a lot of significant personal challenges related to my family with real, authentic brothers in Christ that seek to live a full, John 10:10 life. These are men that aren’t afraid to call or be called during times venting frustration instead of letting it turn to bitterness, men that offer hope and healing by offering forgiveness to each other and others when offending or being offended, and men that call out one another to live more like Jesus and to understand how much they are each made in the image of Christ. They own their part of the situation. These brothers don’t hide the hurts that they have been a victim of or perpetrator of in the past, but instead seek to find the Heart of God on the matter and be reconciled to Him first and then the others they have hurt.
I have come to know that the heart of God on any matter is that I seek him with everything that I am. It’s the Luke 10:27 and John 10:10 life. He is my all — in all and that’s very all — encompassing. Jesus is Lord and that means that anything in my life that is good comes from Him. He has given the means for all life and godliness to be in me.
The question that I have to face is: What will I do with all that I have been given? Will I say, “No thank you, I’m already good enough without you, thank you very much, Creator of the Universe. Amen!” With much sorrow I must give a shocking report that this is often my cry as well as the whole of humanity.
As I have learned so well from my Brothers in Christ that offer “Extravagant Support,” I am not God and I am not in control. So cry out to God in your need; He’s the maker of heaven and earth. Don’t pray or do anything just to check it off your “things-to-do-with-my-time” list which I am sometimes guilty of, but pray so you can know the heart of God. That is one prayer I know He will be glad to answer because I have seen it come to bear. Many times it will come by getting God’s insight to a matter by being in the Bible daily. At any rate, listen to what God says and then seek to do it. You never know when your help for another will be met with the words, “Thank you that came just at the right time.” At those moments you know you are following the heart of God.
As you begin to do things you love to do, and spend time with people who love you for you, your heart will come alive. As your heart comes alive you will know what God’s heart is for you more and more. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4). For God works together everything for the good of those that love Him and are called according to His purposes (Romans 8:28). Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free (John 8:31-32). All of these verses point to being obedient to the Lord, and God’s heart is that we live free not striving to do good works for Him or anyone else, but that we are compelled by His love for us (2 Corinthians 5:14) to do good works that He has prepared in advance for us to do because we are His masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10). We love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).