Choose your heart surgeon without a reference — if you dare

You have a heart, it cannot function under its own power, so you must have a surgeon work on it. Depending on who you choose for this weighty undertaking, you will find that your heart has been fashioned after the heart of your operator. Of course you will want to choose wisely. Therefore, may I make a few helpful pieces of information to help you decide?

First of all, You have only two options here:

One is God–the Maker of all things, the Beginning and the End, the great “I Am What I Am”, the great Physician, etc–

and the other is His enemy, Satan (or Lucifer, the Devil, the Father of Lies, the antichrist, the beast,etc).

Beyond their names and various titles I can offer you a brief sketch of their characters and histories and methods of infiltrating the human heart…

I’ll start with God. As far as God’s character goes, He pretty much steals the show on morality, but He does it with a finesse that suggests He’s been doing all of this since before there was even a concept among us of such a contest.

As for history, again, God totally created the parameters and definitions that even enable us to have such a thing. In case you’re not aware of this, the word history actually means His Story–as in the sovereign-ly executed treatise on divine glory in which we all play a part in unfurling throughout time.

Moving on to methods now, keep in mind that God wants you to be clear on this point (just as He does in all the others): God accomplishes heart change by working with and in us using two primary means–His Spirit and His Word (the Bible). Now, if you are like most people, these terms of methodology are a bit foreign to you (actually, they are to all of us) and they may make you a bit uncomfortable at first. Do not be discouraged. God will not do anything to coerce or manipulate you; in all things He absolutely respects your free will–after all, He’s the one that decided you should have it!

Always, with each bit of territory that for you is new and untested, God will invite you to come along with Him and test it. He will not tamper with your results, though He may enlighten you regarding the import of the results you find (as desired). God’s ultimate goal for your heart is that it might know Him and return the love He keeps pouring over and then (when we’re willing to receive it) in to us.

In case the above is not convincing enough or you are the kind of person who likes to get the full story before they make a decision or judgment, let’s spend some time talking about the other surgeon on our list.

Satan has a character all his own. The only way to define it is to contrast it with that of God–for Satan was created by God to be subservient to Him, but chose to rebel against Him and alter the imprint of God’s design upon Him. He chose to turn against God and war for glory and a position that would make him equal to, if not capable of override, God. Satan’s glory is in his corruption of the glory given to him by God–he seeks out evil in all his ways, thoughts and ambitions; in this he finds his one joy.

Regarding his history, Satan would like you to be in the dark. He would like you to think that he has always been and will always be and complete power belongs to him. He does not have to be greater or more powerful than God in actuality, so long as he can make you believe that he is. He is constantly trying to get God out of the picture so that you will not perceive the larger story unfolding beyond you and him.

I have hinted at his methodology frequently in my descriptions of his character and history, but just to be clear, let me go a little deeper here. Satan is a deceiver–the Bible tells us that he is the Deceiver. Everyone who knows or practices the art of deception has him as their teacher. Satan does not work on your heart for nothing, and he does not work on it for your sake–he has a larger scheme. He targets you and exposes you and intimidates you and works out ever form of destruction upon you (yes, all this centers around your heart) so that he can grieve God as much as he possibly can. He knows–likely much better than you do–that God loves you and what that really means. He wants to destroy the investment God has put into mankind by coaxing you to reject Him in sinning against Him without remorse or repentance.

Satan is not more of anything than God except evil–He is totally evil and will one day be defeated and God is totally good and will one day pronounce His victory. At the same time, God is not afraid of Satan, or without the ability to keep him in check. God knows all of Satan’s schemes and how he targets us to unleash them. God promises to guard our hearts against the evil he constantly has prepared to work against us, but He lays the invitation at our doorstep and waits for our reply. He will not join Satan in his tactics of manipulation; in truth, He does not need to.

You are precious to God, but He will not go against His decree that you would be like Him in having the freedom of choice. He wants your love–the overflow of your heart–not your fear-driven service. He is waiting…have you decided yet?

Is there something to being soft?

If you would have asked me a few years ago what my thoughts were on being soft, I would have told you that being soft meant you got bruised. Period. Needless to say, it was useless and stupid to be soft.

Can you share my thinking? Do you have painful experiences to back this up. I do. In light of this I determined at an early age that I would be as tough as I could be–hoping that this would make me strong. It didn’t. In fact, unbeknownst to me, it actually weakened me. I wasn’t able to express my true self or care for others as I longed to be able to do; worst of all, I was not able to be receptive towards God. Tenderness was lost in an effort to protect myself. And protect myself I did: I protected myself from love, grace, mercy, peace, etc–I kept myself guardedly aloof from the entire soul-ministry that God wanted to get going in me.

I lost so much for so many years. I thought the gains were worth the cost, but I was wrong. I still got hurt–in fact, the pain of past wounds still remained festering within me. I wasn’t serving myself by keeping myself apart from risk in relationships–I was needlessly closing myself from my only exit from the pain–my only healing.

I didn’t understand them that healing is a miracle that takes place in the midst of our pain, not in the absence or denial of it. It’s a miracle because without God this would never happen: We would refuse to enter into such a severe chamber and He–but for His unfathomable love for us–should not have provided us an entrance.

It is knowing that God feels my pain with me and is not helpless to deliver me from the destruction of it that softens my heart and wins the trust of my spirit. I can expect nothing good from God–that is, prepare to take it in–unless I allow Him to whittle away at my doubts. I am a hardened person when I believe that I have every reason to put God in the same category as every sinner and plot of Satan that has ever hurt me. Until my eyes are opened to the character of God, I will not be able to separate Him from the rest; instead, I will ultimately Him for all my pain.

I must concentrate on reconciling with God before I can consider rebuilding myself or any other relationship. God is the One who makes me whole; to recognize in every situation that He is more than able to care for me. I can face pain and problems and grow if I let God have the latitudes for grace in suffering, sorrow and surrender that He desires.

How ’bout ya gimme what she’s got, huh, God?

It is no easy thing to be true to the unique qualities that God has built into us. We would value God more if we valued the works of His hands most personal to us.

Why do we feel that we need to tailor ourselves to things that we were never meant to be — at least not exactly? Each one of us holds the ticket to the adventure of God’s creation unfolding in our own little corner of the world, so why do we try to mortgage off our track of land to get illegitimate access to the pleasures He’s designated for another instead?