Examining Our Hearts to Purify Our Souls
Many of us Christians believe we are decent people and in good graces with God. We believe in Jesus' death on the cross for our salvation and do the best we can in this world to live up to His hope for us.
Everyone has thoughts, feelings and intentions. We make judgments daily and have good and bad days. Everything in this life influences what goes on in our hearts. Overall, we think we are good, but unfortunately most of us are very bad at evaluating ourselves clearly. We make a lot of excuses about why we do or don't do certain things. We have conscious and unconscious motivations that drive us forward.
Events and situations happen that push us to feel, think and react in ways that affect our thoughts, beliefs and behavior. But no matter how good we think we are, our hearts are still filled with hypocrisies, excuses, wrong beliefs, self-delusions and falsehoods. And if you don't think so, then you are really in denial.
Christians seek to follow the Lord with his examples of compassion, understanding, forgiveness and love towards people, but many of us block the fact that we can be fault-finders, make bad judgments and do things that go against what our faith and Jesus stand for.
Outwardly we can be very nice, cordial, friendly and conscientious but inside we can be living with cynicism, prejudice, unforgiveness and envy. Yet we still believe that we are okay with God. We think God understands our faults and forgives us. Well, yes, but that is the reason so many of us do so very little to purify ourselves. We think God's grace is looking the other way, but it is because of God's grace that we need to cleanse and purify ourselves from what's going on inside of us.
We make up excuses for our flaws and skirt responsibility all the time and never seem to think that our actions or lack of actions will affect our hearts and consequently our spiritual walk. When we consider our spirituality we may think about prayer or reading the Bible or church attendance, but it is actually much more.
God is looking at our hearts. He is looking at who we truly are deep into our soul.
Whether chasing our hobbies, relaxing, playing video games, shopping for things to buy or just trying to keep from being bored, our choices of activities in our free time reveals what we really want to do and where our heart lies.
Why is it so few of us ever think about volunteering? Well could it be that it is because that would mean thinking about someone else? There are many relationships that we need to work on, encourage or repair, but those take a back seat to doing what we want to do.
That is VERY revealing.
Want to know how you are doing spiritually? Watch, look and listen...to yourself.
When you are driving in morning traffic, are you making judgments about every driver around you, calling them names, even if it's in your mind? When looking at a crime story in the news, who do you relate to? The victim, the police or the criminals?
Where your mind goes reveals everything about you.
When at school or work do you ignore certain people because they are not exactly like you? Do you look down on those who you think are not as good as you are? Do you form opinions about people by the way they dress, their age or the way they talk?
Yet you tell yourself you are a good loving Christian?
And what happens when it's Sunday? Do you wake up some mornings wishing you could skip church and just stay home and relax? When you get there, do the words of the minister go in one ear and out the other because your mind automatically goes somewhere else? And do you just mouth the words when singing the songs, because you're planning what you will be doing after church? You're heart is not there with God.
And what comes out of your mouth? Is everything gossip, an analysis, a joke, a criticism, a sarcastic remark or a put down? Do you talk like you're an expert on everything and your opinion is the ultimate truth? When you get together with people do you talk about yourself the whole time?
Is it really that hard to give a compliment? Ask how someone is doing? Give someone a hug? Talk less and listen more?
You see it is easy to see who you really are. Our true selves are right in front of us, revealed by our daily thoughts, words, actions and inactions. Only we can't see it because we are smack in the middle of ourselves and believe we are “all good” in our own eyes.
Ask the Lord to reveal the truths of what is really going on with you. Look around and note how you feel about the people around you and search for the resentment, envy or anger that might have grown inside you towards them. Understanding where you are in your life is the first step to allowing Jesus to lead you in the right direction towards God. And if we let Him deeper inside, He will open your eyes to awaken your soul. It is the path to cleansing and purifying our hearts.
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