Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Heart Invaders

On a given week, my husband and I run anywhere between eight to 15 miles. We sometimes run on a trail layered with broken up seashells, sand, and little stones pebbles; and those little stones or shells find their way inside our shoes, uninvited. I have either had to stop and take off my shoes to clear them, and other times, I have just endured the discomfort and waited until I got home before I remove them. However, sometimes, because I forget to clean the shoes until I want to run again, those little nuisances remind me that they are still there.

It got me to thinking about our life journey and how most times we collect unwelcomed stones along the way. Through life experiences, we pick up hate, bitterness, unforgiveness, fill in the blank__________. These stones eventually become justified and we feel vindicated when we hold on to them. However, God never intended for John 10:10 says,

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (ESV)

This life abundance becomes evident when we produce the fruits of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23,

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (ESV)

... and not the fruits of evil like hate, bitterness, etc.

Just like I do when my shoes collect little stones, let me suggest four things to consider when we collect unwanted stones in our hearts:

  1. Stop and Take off your shoes:  When God tells us to stop doing something (don’t send that text, or don’t respond to what is being said) it is because He is protecting us from unwanted stones. He knows the end from the beginning, what can jeopardize your future or destroy you. So, the next time you walk on life’s journey and you collect the uncollectable, and God tells you to stop, take off your shoes, please pay attention.
  2. Do not be comfortable with Discomfort: How many times have we become comfortable with discomfort? When we become comfortable with being critical, hateful, judgmental, etc., we are living with dysfunction. It is not abundant life. When little stones find a home in our hearts and we choose to run with them and not clear them, then we have become comfortable with dysfunction.
  3. Don’t Ignore Addressing Issues: Sometimes we ignore addressing our issues because of the work involved in coming face to face with truth. When we ignore addressing issues, we do not live to our fullest potential because those stones become a distraction and destruction in our lives. Let us not ignore the work of the cross by not addressing the very things that Christ came to set us free from to live an abundant and victorious life. 
  4. Always clean your shoes before you wear them: When we start and end our day, we need to make sure that we clear our minds and hearts. Proverbs 4:23 states,

    “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” (ESV)

    Whatever we allow to find a home in our hearts, good or bad, will yield the results sown. Wouldn’t it be great to yield results that God has envisioned for us? A life producing love, kindness, self-control and not anger, hate, judgment?

Our heartfelt prayer can be found in Psalm 139:23-24:

“Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me; cross-examine and test me. Get a clear picture of what I am about; see for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong — then guide me on the road to eternal life.” (MSG)

May this be our attitude daily so that every stone or shell does not find a home in our hearts.

Copyright © Towera Nyirenda Loper, used with permission. 

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