In Luke 10:27 Jesus said we should love God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind. This is a very holistic understanding of who we are. In Hebrew thought the heart was the wellspring of volition or will-power. This week we’re going to explore how our heart is connected to our strength or physical power. Use these each day before you eat breakfast or pack your lunch or plan your dinner… or use them as fuel before your workout.
The Heart of It All
Philippians 4:13 (ESV) I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
One reason you may be cringing during this series is your latest experience of failure. We’ve all failed to lose weight on one diet plan or another. We’ve all bought a piece of exercise equipment that now resides in a dark corner of the basement. Why do we continually fail? Our attitude shifts. We turn a deaf ear to the dangers of our bad habits, exercise is hard work, and well, this just tastes good! Gradually our shifting attitude gets cemented into place. I’ve tried! It doesn’t work! I don’t care! As the Bible says, our heart has hardened.
The best way to adjust our attitude is to consider God’s attitude toward us. When we see how God has exerted His heart, His will to rescue humanity from our self-made disaster of sin, well that’s inspiring. God’s use of will-power to save me frees me from the guilt of my failures and fuels my will power to carry on. If you’re addressing a need to improve your health by making changes in your lifestyle, fuel your will-power with Jesus’ heartfelt determination to love you. Find ways to surround yourself with reminders of Jesus’ heart.
A Submitted Heart
Proverbs 16:3 (ESV) Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.
This week, focus on the Spiritual Discipline of Submission. It’s a difficult concept, especially for those of us raised in a culture of self-determination. To submit ourselves smacks of defeat. But let’s go back to what we know about Jesus’ heart for you, His determined love, His grace beyond expectation. His heart led him to submission for our sakes. When we know the heart of God, our hearts are transformed into love based submission. When we give God our hearts, submit with humility, complete honesty, transparency, we find that submission doesn’t create distance, it glues relationship.
Have a submission kind of conversation with God, a prayer filled with humility, honesty, transparency and some confession. Tell Him about the current state of your physical self and the change you’d like to put in place. Tell Him you want to love Him with all your heart and soul and strength and mind. Submit this plan to His will for you as a servant in His Kingdom.
What do you think would happen to your will-power if you reiterated that prayer as your routine table prayer or during the first minute of your workout?
Out of the Heart
Mark 7:20–22 (ESV) And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.
A self-centered, self-satisfying heart can bring havoc to the people in our path, but it can also destroy our souls. Jesus recites this list of what pours out of a sin bent heart. Consider the impact of each on your physical self. Have any of them been at the root of your previous attempt to slim down or beef up? You won’t succeed in making a healthy change for the wrong reasons.
Once more, empty your heart and fill it with Jesus. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1 (ESV) Submitting your heart to Him frees you to act with His heart. Pray for a vision of how your submitted heart will improve your strength to serve and the impact it will have on your family.
A Pondering Heart
Philippians 4:8 (ESV) Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
I think of Mary, pondering in her heart, thinking over and over about those first hours with Jesus in her arms and shepherds pushing in reporting about angels. How those thoughts must have sustained her throughout the years of submission to God’s will that were still ahead. And so, Paul recommends that we ponder. Notice that truth, honor, justice, purity are all defined fundamentally by God. When we ponder these, we are submitting to His will.
Ponder on this… what is commendable and excellent about striving to steward and build your health in order to better serve God and others? If anyone asks about your change in eating choices or your workout habits, be prepared to tell them why.
Our Modeled Heart
Ephesians 5:1–2 (ESV) Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Here’s one more picture of Christ’s submission, a fragrant offering and sacrifice. There you see His heart. Paul tells us to be imitators, look at the model and copy it. If we are addressing an improvement in health in order to live longer, feel better, look attractive… well that’s not our model. We want to fill our heart with Jesus’ heart so that we can offer our physical strength to God. We are beloved children of God, and our strength is intended for walking in that love. Consider the people who could be impacted by the usual increase in energy and mental capacity that is attributed to a healthy life-style. Submit your lifestyle choices to God, and to those people.
More in Take It Home
May 8, 2018Take It Home Notice
May 4, 2018Foolish Things Christians Believe: My Life is Not Futile Day 5
May 3, 2018Foolish Things Christians Believe: My Life Is Not Futile Day 4