The Bare Soul -
December 7, 2008
An Enlarged Heart
Psalm 119:32 - I shall run the way of Your commandments, For You will enlarge my heart.
When we are saved from sin, many of us can ever imagine having the capacity to follow the first commandment in its fullness: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. Though we are in love with Jesus and His wonderful gift of salvation, doubts appear when our fleshly natures start to rear their ugly head. Our lives seem desperately selfish and focused on our own interests once the spotlight of the Holy Spirit illumines our true nature. However, as we grow in the Lord, and are obedient to His leadings we also find our capacity to love increases and broadens. There really is no correlation to the broadening of our capacity to love with how we "feel" about our sin or how we react and languish about it. Rather it is a direct result of how our faith is released by obedience (to a greater degree), thereby helping us recognize the glorious gift of salvation that the Lord Jesus has bestowed on us. It is just something that we accept with gratitude. As our faith grows, our love grows also -- not just for the Lord but for his creation -- namely His greatest creation, humankindd.
The Psalmist spoke deliberately in the opening verse regarding his desire to please the Lord in obedience. In many instances throughout the Word of God, the metaphor of "walking" is used to signify the way of one's spiritual traversing. Either the humble and upright will follow the path of righteousness, or conversely, the naive and simple will stumble down the road to destruction. However, running is a different matter as outlined in several scriptures throughout the Word, both in a positive and negative light. In Isaiah 59:7 it states that Their feet run to evil, and they hasten to shed innocent blood; while Solomon declared in Proverbs 18:10 ... The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe. As these scriptures suggest, there is a certain expediency in regards to running. It implies that there is an urgency to get to a desired location or end, as if there is a constraint that would be pushing the runner on to finish his or her course within an acceptable time. Solomon understood running toward the Lord as well as running away from Him. He is the quintessential example of someone spiritually "running" in extreme, diametric directions. In his younger life, he gave himself to the Lord and "ran" the way of His commandments to the point that his soul was "hyper-enlarged" with a heart of wisdom unparalleled in the annals of humankind. In later years, he allowed his heart and mind to become vacant of God's wisdom as he gave himself to "running" after the excesses of depravity. Throughout the book of Ecclesiastes, we find a man that had filled up an enormously large vacuum with the pleasures of this world. His conclusion, after he had turned back to God, was that "all is vanity" and that the wisest choice is: ... fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
In reality, we will all pursue our passions at one pace or another. Some of us prefer to walk, while others of us are compelled to run. I have always been a "runner", but not in the literal sense. My running began years before I ever ran my first mile in 1990. Years before, I too was like Solomon and "sprinted" after carnality and the lust of my own flesh. I ran with such riotous ruin, honing and practicing disobedience with such vigor that if there were a priesthood for the damned I was certainly a tenured minister. My heart had become superfluously enlarged with every evil known to man. I was doomed, until I met Jesus. When the Lord gave me a new heart, he made it right-sized again. But then an amazing thing began to occur. With every victory, He increased both my faith and love for Him as he began His glorious work as the Author and Perfecter of my faith in Him. As time passed, He continued to bless me with more faith, more hope, and the crown jewel, His Love. In time, my heart once again started enlarging, but not with the excesses of disobedience. This time it was with His grace and the very fruit of His Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
Let us ask ourselves: What is my pursuit in life today? Am I walking after the "god of this world" and the lust of my flesh, or am I walking with the Lord God Almighty who is able to give me love, hope, and joy? I am convinced that if we are merely walking after the flesh and the devil or after the Lord and His righteousness, that we should be "running" in one direction or the other. For if a man or woman is running from God, they are more likely to fall as they run in darkness. THEN, there is hope that they will turn to the Most High. Conversely, if one is running with the Lord and with His commandments, there can only be one outcome -- a life and a heart that will be so enlarged with the goodness of God that they won't be able to contain it.
Lord Jesus, our Redeemer, help us to run the way of your commandments ... this day. Help us to surrender to you that you may do the work of the Master Surgeon and enlarge our hearts to give more, to live more, and to love more. In Christ Jesus' Holy Name, Amen!
Your Barefoot Servant,
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