We’ve been launched into a brand-new year, 2022, and are being invited, as always, into its Journey of Discovery. But there’s an annoying glitch we all need to deal with. A significant obstacle blocks the way to our goal for the year, which is a richer experience of God’s Grace. The problem? It’s the ‘heart’ we were born with. Since there’s nothing to be gained by reinventing the wheel as we say, here’s what one writer had to say about it in a book he wrote 75 years ago:
“There is within the human heart a tough fibrous root of fallen life whose nature is to possess, always to possess. It covets “things” with a deep and fierce passion. The pronouns “my” and “mine” look innocent enough in print, but their constant and universal use is significant. They express the real nature of the old Adamic man better than a thousand volumes of theology could do. They are verbal symptoms of our deep disease. The roots of our hearts have grown down into things, and we dare not pull up one rootlet lest we die. Things have become necessary to us, a development never originally intended. God’s gifts now take the place of God, and the whole course of nature is upset by the monstrous substitution…
Now, what should we do?…No careless or casual dealings will suffice. Let (the journeyer) come to God in full determination to be heard. Let him insist that God accept his all, that He take things out of his heart and Himself reign there in power. It may be that he will need to become specific, to name things and people by their names one by one… The ancient curse will not go out painlessly; the tough old miser within us will not lie down and die obedient to our command. He must be torn out of our heart like a plant from the soil; he must be extracted in agony and blood like a tooth from the jaw. He must be expelled from our soul by violence as Christ expelled the money changers from the temple. And we shall need to steel ourselves against his piteous begging, and to recognize it as springing out of self-pity, one of the most reprehensible sins of the human heart.”*
And once the little issue described above has been taken care of, we can begin living, more and more, into the Grace that is offered to us. What a year this will be! By December, we will all be talking about Shalom in more intimate, less-theological terms! People around us will be doing double-takes because of the aroma of Christ they sense in passing by us on the street! We will keep getting stopped by curious onlookers, asking for some of the joy we’ve got spilling out of us. And maybe, just maybe, the world will start seeing that Jesus is in the Father and that the Father has sent him. PD
ps How’s the ‘exercise’ coming along?
*from The Pursuit of God, 1948, by A. W. Tozer (1897-1963)