A Cluttered Mind

“Make room in your hearts for us.” -2 Corinthians 7:2 (ESV)

My desk is the epitome of clutter. If it is messy on normal days, it looks three times as worse on days when I have to write papers and exams. With open books scattered everywhere and pages of articles jutting out from every possible nook and corner, it is as if a tornado tore right through my desk and left devastation in its wake. Sometimes I do not realize it myself, and it is only when I come to find a place to set my plate and eat before I work again that I realize how messy my desk really is. As I sift through the sea of books and papers to make room, I find other things which I do not need and set them aside so that I may focus on what is really important; eating in order to gain the nourishment and strength to press on and do well.

We live in an age where busyness is almost a virtue. While we must all strive for diligence in whatever we do, too often we become engrossed in our work and make ourselves busy for the sake of being busy. When we do this however, our minds become terribly cluttered and stress begins to take sway; tainting our interactions with others. It can come to a point where we become so absorbed with ourselves and what we need to get done that we lose sight of God and the people around us. Relationships are strained not only by the harmful things we say, but also when we are not with the people we love both in presence and in our hearts. To have our priorities skewed by a false diligence is to deprive ourselves of joy and to submit ourselves to a slavery that will only serve to destroy us piece by piece. It is only when we have made room in our hearts for Christ and have made keeping in step with Him our top priority that we will find a lasting peace and joy which will never be taken away. As we allow Him to order our lives, He will expose what does not need to be there in our hearts and attitudes so that room will be made for His love. When this happens we will make room for others so that through His love Christ may reveal Himself and restore those who are broken and in need of His restorative work.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Constant in His Love

“And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them” Genesis 3:21 (ESV)

Adam and Eve could not have had it better. They lived in a perfect world created by the all-powerful hands of God where He lovingly provided for their every need. But when Adam and Eve disobeyed God as a result of their deliberate choice to eat of the tree which God explicitly forbade them to eat from, the closeness they once shared with God was broken. Since God is holy He cannot tolerate even the slightest act of sin and as such He expelled Adam and Eve from the garden. Yet what is beautiful of this otherwise tragic episode in human history is how God shows His unfailing love. Despite Adam and Eve’s rejection of Him, God provides them with clothing to endure the harsh realities of their new lives in a fallen world. The animal skins foreshadow what Christ has done and will do for us by Him becoming the sacrificial Lamb for us so that through His death on the Cross we are forgiven and our relationship with God restored.

The love of God is unchangeable and inherent in His very nature. He has never been the God who oscillates between the angry God of the Old Testament and the loving God of the New Testament. Through a careful reading of Scripture His unconditional love and desire to restore His precious creations to Himself is made evident from the very beginning right through to the end. The difference between human love and God’s love is that our love is limited and can be overpowered by sin, while God’s love remains constant regardless of what we may do. He knows that no human being on this Earth can achieve His standards of righteousness and thus He will never withdraw His love and grace for us. Will we choose to accept his love so that we will no longer have to be slaves to sin and its consequences? When we allow Christ to enter our lives we will be able to experience His love as He breaks us free from our sinful nature and faithfully provides for us according to His perfect will. He will perfect His love in our hearts so that it will overflow and bring hope and life to those around us.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Breaking the Cycle

“And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt.” –Deuteronomy 10:19 (NIV)

The Israelites had gone through untold suffering in Egypt. As slaves under their Egyptian overlords, the Israelites were an oppressed people; discriminated against and forced to endure miserable conditions because of their Hebrew blood. For centuries they prayed for deliverance, and in His perfect timing God rescued them out of their enslavement in Egypt and into freedom. However, God warns them not to use the freedom He is given them to become oppressors themselves.  The Israelites had been through a lot and it would have been natural for them to treat the foreigners in their midst with contempt as a way of exercising the power they were once denied. Yet God called them, and us to a higher standard; loving others regardless of who they are so that His love and righteousness may be displayed to the world.

When we have gone through suffering ourselves, we can go either two ways. We can choose to allow our suffering to taint our interactions with others and subject them to the tyranny we experienced, or to love others remembering what it was like when we were in their position. Too often we gravitate to the former because our sinful nature wants to restore our broken pride at all costs; even if that means shattering the pride and dignity of others. Instead of bringing healing however, this only serves to continue a destructive cycle of misery that no one truly benefits from. The only way we have any hope of breaking this cycle is when we have allowed ourselves to be transformed by the love of Christ. When we have allowed Him to enter our hearts, he will teach us how to love in the way which He did for us, sacrificially and unconditional. Rooting ourselves in Christ we will no longer feel bound to our past hurts for we have been restored by the work of His Spirit within us. Having found our confidence and security in Him, we will allow His love to overflow from our hearts, knowing that we live in a broken world in desperate need of the healing work of Christ.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.