Posts Tagged ‘purify my heart’

Chicken or the egg: I come near to God first or God comes near to me? It’s a circle for a reason, there is no beginning or end to God-nearness.

James 4:8
Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Brian McLaren, in his latest book, Naked Spirituality: a life with God in 12 simple words, uses the word “here” to begin his journey with God: “I am here, God is here, I am here with God.” This is how I imagine mutual nearness, like a dance or a mirror exercise in which no one can tell who is leading, who is following. It’s a unity.

And when I have awareness of God-nearness, I am also quickened. I see myself more clearly, I see places within me that are not connecting, like sunspots, they are of a different heat but the wrong kind of intense activity. They are my inner Adam and Eve hiding in the garden [Genesis 3:8-10].

It is only when I am near that I can understand and see what needs to be purified, what needs to be cleansed. There is cleansing by water, this removes the surface problems, the obvious issues, this is relatively easy and although it may take time, it is not particularly painful.

But the second, the purification of the heart, this is the inner cleansing and there is no quick fix to sins of the heart. The deeper they are stored, the more intense the process.

As I prayed over this passage, the old song came immediately to mind, Refiner’s Fire, my heart’s one desire is to be holy. Like purifying gold, there must be fire. This is not some fiery hell at all, it’s white fire, it’s holy, it’s laser specific, it’s the power of God released into the heart of the matter.

They say mothers no longer remember the pain of childbirth once the child is born: the wonder of the living outshines the suffering. So it is with the cleansing fire of God.

If I want to be close, then I have to be willing to be transparent and clear.

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when I set up one of those new Paypal accounts, before I could use it, I had to allow them to make a very small deposit into my bank account. Then, I had to keep checking my account and once I recognized it, let them know. This verified the connection. That’s how the Holy Spirit starts too.

II Corinthians 5:5
Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

I think people expect the Holy Spirit to drop into their lives like a flood or a whirlwind. But truly, I think it’s just a mini-deposit. That is, until we get better at letting the Spirit have access and place in our hearts.

A true taste of the Holy Spirit is like a single bite of the most extraordinary dessert in the world. It’s sweet and multi-faceted. It’s has a taste that lasts. And most of all, it gives us a desire for more.

The mini-deposit of the Holy Spirit is a promise of what is possible, what is available, what is real.

Like the story of the mustard seed [Matthew 17:20], the things of God are so powerful that it only takes a little bit to have to great effect.

This is why one person can indeed make a difference in the world. One person among billions is no bigger than a mustard seed or a grain of sand.

I think I’ve been looking for the mega deposit, the swoosh of wind and the tongues of fire, when all along, the little mini-deposit has been sitting there, inside my heart, waiting to be acknowledged for all that it can do.

Burn brightly, sweet ember of the Lord.

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John 24:35
John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light.

A lamp gives light, but in those days, all lamps were fire that was fueled by something else. The fire was dependent on the fuel… usually oil. All of these words are used symbolically throughout the scriptures: lamp, fire, light, oil. They all go together and are combined to give a strong picture of what must happen within.

One of my favorite songs is “Refiner’s Fire” (based on Malachi 3:2). The message is simple: my prayer is to be holy … and the only way to be holy is to be refined by the fire of God…. purified.

John the baptizer had this fire within, gifted directly by God. It was this fire that drew others to him. The people recognized that fire. But John said that one was coming who would not just baptize with water, but with fire… one Christ Jesus. He would give pour out this fire directly from the “one who sent him,” [God]. This fire, then, is given when we invite Jesus to dwell within. He comes as a fire with the oil of the Holy Spirit that continually fuels the fire, continually refines our souls. [2 Chronicles 7:1] Sometimes, that fire can cause pain.

So often, I see myself trying to hang onto the ashes that have been burned away by the fire. But they are worthless, really. Sometimes the pain is by my feeble efforts to protect or “save” the parts He is trying to burn away. But it is then I realize that the best part remains. That part cannot be burned. Gold must be purified to be gold. The soul must be purified to be holy. Amen.

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