Growing A Heart Like Jesus

Posted: August 23, 2011 in Faith

Yesterday, I wrote about choices and how the way we make them affects our relationship with God. Our heart determines whether we do what’s right out of obligation to be “good” or we expressing the goodness already inside us. It seems like an argument over semantics, but it’s critical to our growth as a believer.

The goal of our life is not to live well, or have great influence, or build an impressive organization, or racked up a heap of good deeds. Our goal is to pursue Jesus, to continually grow in how we think, feel and act like him. Everything else flows out of that.

But shaping our heart is no easy task. It is so much easier to shape our behavior. Which is why we get stuck in religious attitudes and rituals. We believe we satisfy the requirements of a relationship with Jesus by doing what he wants. We think of ourselves like an employee- what’s required of me to meet the obligations of our contract so I can fulfill my end of the contract.

Jesus doesn’t want employees. He wants shareholders.

So how do we shape our heart? It’s messy. It still requires we do the right actions but out of a different motivation. It requires we change how we think, feel and act. We do this by seeking Jesus.

Our priorities are to seek first, then think, act & feel. If we’re not seeking daily, our heart isn’t changing. When we’re not seeking, something else takes our priority. That’s because we’re wired to seek. We’re made to follow something. Whatever dominates our thoughts, feelings and actions is what we’re following. Maybe that’s your job. Maybe it’s a relationship. Maybe is success or recognition or recovery or an addiction.

We don’t like to think of what we’re doing as idol worship, but see if this verse doesn’t seem to fit-

There, in a foreign land, you will worship idols made from wood and stone—gods that neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell. 29 But from there you will search again for the Lord your God. And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him. Deuteronomy 4:28-29

Our Gods may not always be wood and stone, but they are just as incapable of seeing or hearing. Jesus claimed he and the God were one. So this God was living, breathing, eating, smelling. Then he echoed Deuteronomy when he said,

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7

Jesus said the answer to our longing lies in the seeking, not the finding. We don’t have to worry about finding. God’s got that part covered. Our job is to seek. And not just one time, continually seeking. Our heart is shaped by what captures our attention. That’s why we can’t really hide our faults or sins long-term. They creep out when we’re not looking. They show up when we don’t want them to. Because they’re in us. Our life is an expression of our heart.

But the opposite is also true. When we seek Jesus, he comes out of us when we’re not expecting it. We start acting like him without trying to. We make choices like he would make. It’s not work, or obligation, or religion. It’s expression. It’s freedom.

How much time do you spend seeking Jesus each day? Or how many days in the week? If you don’t fill your heart with Jesus, you’ll fill it with something else. Take charge of your heart. Seek him with all your heart and soul and see what amazing things come out of you.

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