Today, Blackaby set forth five points to use as guidelines to make certain that your heart is available for God’s use.
“Set” your heart to follow God â€“ using 2 Chron 11:16 as a starting point, he talks about the focus that we must have. We must be totally committed, allowing nothing to stand between us and God. In one of Jesus’ more puzzling statements, He says:
Luke 14:33 In the same way therefore not one of you can be my disciple if he does not renounce all his own possessions.ï»¿
The people that read everything in the Bible literally get confused by this directive. He’s not saying to strip naked and live in the wilderness. He’s saying that our possessions should not be between us and Him. It may well be that some of our possessions are taking front and center and we need to dispose of those. But that isn’t the gist of His thought.
“Yield” your heart to God â€“ I would use “submit” for this one because submission is hard for me. Others might use “incline”, always leaning towards God. Blackaby says:
Our first and immediate inclination in any situation must be toward God and His standards.
I have to work on that one. The automatic reaction part, that is.
“Cleanse” your heart for God â€“ I like the passage he started out with for this one.
1 Samuel 7:3 Samuel spoke to the whole group of Israel, saying, “If you’re turning back to the Lord with all your hearts, you must remove your foreign gods and your idols of Ashtoreth. You must give yourselves fully to the Lord and serve only him. Then he will save you from the Philistines.”
That’s the key to coming home. Come back empty handed and clean. Forget what you’ve done, Christ has cleansed it all. So hard for us to do completely because Satan loves to hold us in the clutches of guilt. But we are free.
“Guard” your heart â€“ Blackaby says:
Guarding your heart means to put a “hedge of protection” around it because it is the wellspring of life, the source of life-giving water.
Proverbs 4:23 Guard your heart with all vigilance, for from it are the sourcesï»¿ï»¿ of life.
It is a choice that we must make. No one can make it for us. We must choose to refuse to give in to the temptations which follow us daily.
Do not “harden” your heart â€“ When I saw that one, I immediately thought of “stubborn and obstinate”. He gives the example of clogged arteries and how they restrict blood flow. The same is true of our spiritual lives, when we are stubborn and obstinate, the Holy Spirit is restricted in what He can do in our lives.
Ezekiel 11:19-20 I will give them one heart and I will put a new spirit within them;ï»¿ï»¿ I will remove the hearts of stone from their bodiesï»¿ï»¿ and I will give them tender hearts, so that they may follow my statutes and observe my regulations and carry them out. Then they will be my people, and I will be their God.ï»¿
Back to that paradox thing from the other day. God says that He will change us and then we will be His people. We must understand this. We cannot change on our own accord. Life comes from God.