Monday, September 10

chocolate covered cherry heart


"Four kinds of hardened hearts," he said.

As he gave the four levels and described each one a little bit, all I could think of was a chocolate covered cherry. Somehow, someway, they've created a hard, chocolate candy shell that wraps around and greatly protects mushy, gushy, swirly cream and a dainty cherry to boot. I like these little goodies because I can chisel away the outer cover and eventually make my way to the tart but sweet fruit inside. (Also, these tend to be so rich that one usually does the trick. Therefore, my hips like them too!)

And even in the midst of my being unfocused, I jotted down the descriptions and ideas of a hardened heart. There's the first one: I don't get it and I don't want to! This heart doesn't understand all the religious, Christianity, God stuff, but it also doesn't care to. Life is fine the way it is, or so this heart believes. It's much easier to live for itself or to turn its back than it is to say, "you were right," or, "okay, God, I will."

Then, there's the 'I don't get it and I just can't right now'. Our world has so many theories and ideas that contradict one another, and all the scholars and scientists and religious people just make a mess out of things by arguing. This heart doesn't get what the God stuff is about and, at this point, just can't bring itself to explore further. This heart has a thinner shell than the first.

The third hardened heart is one that says "I don't completely understand it, but I want to". Again, we've got lots of distractions and storms to battle, so it is understandable that most of us don't or can't understand. The battle is raging and these hearts are the first target. This heart is in the midst of the battle, but is willing to fight against it and look for understanding, and God can use this heart.

The last heart, is a doozy. This heart says, "I already know it all. I get it, and I don't need to figure anything else out." This heart is different from the others because this one is done searching. This heart found the answers somewhere--a church, a religion, a book, a family, etc.--and stuck to them. This heart says there is no other way than what I know.

Now, if it's true and you had a one-on-one with God and He gave you the low-down for all He's done, is doing, and will do, then great! You really do have it figured out.

However, if you're the majority, "figured out" isn't something you'll get in this lifetime. "Figured out" isn't what God had in mind for you. You'll spend a lifetime searching for what is true and right, what is real and what matters, because of those distractions and arrows that aim right for the heart and because God has already promised you’ll be a work in progress. Most days, I'm guessing I'm heart #3, hiding behind the curtain of "I don't understand, but I'll try". The problem is that 80% of my days might turn into "I'll try tomorrow".

Jesus is more impressed with the cunning of “the people of this world” than he is the naïveté so common to “the people of the light.” And then—back to the doves and snakes analogy—he urges us to be cunning: “I want you to be smart in the same way . . . not complacently just get by on good behavior” (v. 9, The Message). There’s a certain charm to a Forrest Gump naïveté, the kind your grandmother had as she wore her white gloves to church—but is that the kind of person you could trust with your life?

Setting eternity in our hearts was cunning, so that every last one of us would be haunted all our days with unmet longings that would cause us to seek the only Fountain that can quench our thirst. I think the movement of the Spirit in the church is cunning—first here, then there, keeping men from systemizing it, keeping the enemy from squelching it. It’s like a game of rugby.

Jesus is holy and cunning.

(Beautiful Outlaw, 124, John Eldridge)

Most days, what I need to strive for is a chocolate covered cherry heart—one that gushes with love, adoration, bravery, and courage. I want a heart that has been shed of any shell, that has been chiseled away by enormous, great faith. I want a heart that spills over into every aspect of my life, a heart that seeks eternity, a heart that doesn't cower or fear, a heart that was once hardened but has been cared for, nourished, and wiped clean. I want a heart that looks and feels something like a mushy, gushy, creamy cherry.

Listen to complete sermons by Russ Cole, Crosstimbers Fellowship, here.

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