As believers and followers of our Lord Jesus, our heart’s desire is to be more like Him. That is also the Father’s desire for us. So how can we do that? What does it take to be a reflection of the heart of God?
Let me start by saying that we will never get to that place in our lifetime when we feel we have totally achieved being just like the Lord. If you do, you are deceived. True, we will likely say or do many things which show that our heart is in line with God’s, and prove we are trying to be imitators of our Lord. But do not put such high expectations on yourself as to achieve perfection as the Lord. You are not Him, and neither are any of us. We were born sinful, and that curse stays with us until we die.
On the other hand, God has given us the tools to learn more about his heart, and how we can be more like Him. Let’s talk about some of those.
(If you choose to skip over some of this, please do NOT miss the Scriptures or the Conclusion portion.)
READING AND STUDYING HIS WRITTEN WORD, THE BIBLE:
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
2 Timothy 3:16
The best-selling book of all time is the Bible. This should mean that everyone reads it and knows the stories and their meanings by heart, right? But how many of us actually take time to read it every day? If we did, depending on how much was read each day, we just might read through the whole thing in a year or two. If not, one may never read through the entire book of books. I would venture to say that the majority of those that own a Bible haven’t opened it up in over a month or more.
This large book, compiled of 66 smaller books, many of which are letters, has every kind of story and lesson within. It is here that we can learn about what makes God’s heart tick, what fills Him with joy, and what makes Him angry. We read about his never-ending efforts to teach the children of Israel about loving just one God, and following his commandments. You wouldn’t think that would be a difficult task, but as you read through the Old Testament, the entire thing is about God’s attempts to get through to them with prophets, kings, plagues, famines, and wars with other countries. We see a patient God, who from generation to generation, kept giving his people opportunities and chances to get serving Him right, but they regularly let Him down, choosing to do their own thing their own way. Without God. The Father’s heart is written on paper; the way He pursued them, over and over, and over, with warnings from the prophets, with punishments of captivity and losing their cities and temple. His passion for his people is real.
There is so much to learn from these examples that He had written down. Obviously not every story is here, but God hand selected what He wanted us to know and to learn from. This is where we need to start to learn who our Lord is. This is where He will speak to us through the Holy Spirit, revealing the truths He needs for us to understand.
Begin by choosing a chapter, or a group of verses to memorize. Mull over them, ponder them, pray about them. See what the Lord has for you to learn from them. Don’t worry – the Holy Spirit will teach you what is for you for that day.
When you are reading, keep with you some paper and a pen. Take notes on what you just read. Ask questions that make you do more research. Read between the lines by putting yourself in their shoes, their time, which will give you a fuller picture of what is going on. Read the study notes or the introduction to that book. All of these suggestions will help you to learn more of who God is, and why He stuck with humanity after all these millennium.
PRAYER TIME ALONE, JUST YOU AND THE LORD:
“Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.”
1 John 3:22
I know we all spend some time in prayer. Some of us just in the morning, some many times a day, others a couple times a week. However much time you put into your relationship with God is how much closer to Him you become. Every relationship needs time together to help it grow. It also needs communication: open, honest, and often. As in a marriage, there has to be that time of talking and sharing. It is the same with God. As in marriage, there has to be time spent together to find what you have in common, and to enjoy each other. There are highs and lows, but you experiencing it together, hand in hand. This grows the depth of your love. It is the same with God.
Prayer is just talking with God. It doesn’t have to be fancy, long or wordy, but it does need to be truthful, respectful and often. It can be a time of pouring out your heart, or asking for wisdom, or bringing your family and friends to Him. it can be a time if gratitude, for how He answered your prayer. It can be a time of worship, singing and praising Him. If you need a way to make it more real, just picture yourself standing in front of the throne of God, and He is attentively listening. That is exactly what you are doing, and so is He.
Remember as a child when you wanted to sit on your father’s lap and talk to him? Or you would ask him to tell you a story? Well, it is similar to our relationship with God. He tells us many stories in his Word, and He is waiting for us to come and talk to Him. This makes his heart happy!
In prayer time, we are seeking His face. No, this doesn’t mean we want to know what He looks like, but rather, we desire to know what his expression is or his feelings are about a topic, or if his heart is in line with what our heart is beating for, or what gets our pulse going. If we are asking Him for money, is it to serve ourselves for vanity and “stuff”, or is it help us in our family’s growth, and to have some to bless others with? It all goes back to what is your heart’s desire. Is it to serve the Lord with all you are and have, or…
Seeking God and his heart is to want to know what drives Him and pleases Him; the answer is LOVE. It all boils down to love.
Prayer time has two parts: talking, and listening. We seem to have the talking part down pretty good, but are you taking the time to listen? Remember that God’s voice, though booming like thunder on a mountain, is also a still, small voice of the Holy Spirit. With us, He is usually the quieter one, hoping that we take the time to listen to Him, and not get distracted by other things or people that demand our time and attention. If you have a thought that you don’t expect, or if there is this check in your spirit, take the time to listen to it, write it down, dwell on it, pray about it. Listening to the voice of God will help you define if it is his, or not. Usually you will know by what He is trying to say to you.
LIVE BY JESUS’ EXAMPLE:
Love everyone, inspite of circumstances, color, lifestyle, position.
Sacrifice your time, resources, desires.
Don’t let your pride get in the way.
Don’t be selfish.
Remember Moses and how he spent 40 days on Mount Sinai (2x), each time with the Lord? I know that if I spent 40 days and nights face to face with the Lord God, I too would come down from the mountain absolutely glowing! Moses had to wear a veil over his head to keep his face from frightening the Israelites! He was literally ‘glowing’ from being in the presence of God. Imagine how he must have felt, being right there, listening to God about the history of man and the laws they now needed, and talking to God? They were both honest, respectful, and spoke for 40 full days. This led to Moses reflecting the glory and holiness of God!!
My prayer is that you desire the same as I: to be a reflection of the glory of God, of the goodness of God, and display his heart for all. This requires a lot of time with Him, in prayer, praise, and listening, and a lot of reading with studying His heart written in the Word of God. Together, if we are all becoming more like our Lord, then maybe our world will recognize their need to know and love God too! Then, the kingdom of God would grow exponentially!
“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”
Food for thought: A mirror reflects our image, but it is actually reflecting light. Ooh, so this means we are reflecting the ‘light” of God, which is Jesus!
Fun facts: Our hearts beat about 100,000 times a day, and 1.5 – 2 gallons of blood every minute.
Photo by: Kari Wiseman – The heart of God…