I would say I’m sorry for how sporadic posts have been these days. On the one hand, I know it’s a not a big deal. I rest in the knowledge that no one is out there refreshing my site moment by moment, eagerly awaiting new content. 🙂 I’m not that important.
But, I also know that I’m called to write, and frankly, I haven’t wanted to. Sure, I’ll repost something old, that’s safe enough, but I haven’t wanted to freshly bare my soul out here in the wide-open internet spaces. Safer just to keep my laptop–and life–shut.
I’ve had dozens of people ask, “Are you ok??” Yes. I’m ok. It has just been a unique season like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. It isn’t one thing. It has been a season of battle, a season of stripping away, a season of pruning, of weakness.
Sometimes we wonder, when walking through trials, “Is this spiritual attack? Or is this my sin? Or is this God sanctifying me?” Of course, the answer is always:
Yes, at any given time we are facing an onslaught of the enemy, we are dealing with our flesh and the lingering effects of the fall, and we are being lovingly pruned, shaped, sanctified, by a good and gracious God. While we are wise to not be ignorant of the enemy’s schemes, we can rest in the truth that: If I am in Christ, the worst Satan can do is sanctify me. There is nothing God cannot and will not use for our ultimate good.
See, this isn’t a good-and-evil battle where the two sides are equally matched. We might feel outnumbered and overwhelmed, but like Elisha encouraged his faint-hearted servant,
“Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
We are on the offensive, friends.
But even so, this doesn’t mean we do nothing. The battle is real, and it has been raging, and I have wanted to shut down, close up, withdraw. I have felt weary and wondered what it looks like to fight when the issue at hand, the thing that’s up for grabs, the thing that’s being battled for … is my heart.
How do I win my own heart?
Yesterday at church, God gently revealed the answer. I saw that I had been, as AW Tozer calls it, “tinkering with my soul.” That is, going in with a little change here, a little tweak there, like a retired man spending the day tinkering with an old car, without really accomplishing much at all.
The word yesterday was, “In order to return to our first love, our affections must change.” Yes.
My affections. It’s heart stuff, not behavior stuff. It’s heart stuff, not a tweak here and there. Like the men in Mark 7 who were all about adding external safeguards to make sure they didn’t sin, but Jesus reminds them that that will never work because sin comes from the heart.
Sin is simply misplaced affection.
So now what, then? I woke up this morning aching with the question, “How do I change my affections? How do I change what I love?”
We change our affection by changing our attention.
Our hearts simply follow our soul’s gaze.
“The man who has struggled to purify himself and has has nothing but repeated failures will experience real relief when he stops tinkering with his soul and looks away to the perfect One. While he looks at Christ, the very things he has so long been trying to do will be getting done within him. It will be God working in him to will and to do.” (Pursuit of God, p. 91)
Ahhh. My heart sighs relief.
There lies the whole of my duty for this day: Fix the gaze of my soul on Christ. Stop tinkering, start looking. Put His truth and unchanging Word before my eyes and heart and trust Him to woo back my wayward heart.
From one wayward soul to another… let’s fix our gaze and trust Him to do the rest. Happy Monday, and thanks for reading.}