In so saying, Gandhi exposed the greatest weakness of the Christian witness. We are so unlike Him. To some degree the criticism is unfair – we are followers of the one we believe to be the blameless Son of God. At the same time, as followers we can tolerate no gap between who we are and who He is. We are called to be like Him.
Over the last year, I have been working with a collection of powerful Christians. These are world-changers, Kingdom-builders. They run orphanages and medical missions. They hold the hand of the child in need and stand as peacemakers between those trained to hate. In them, the gospel lives. I know them well enough to know that if I listen closely I will hear through them a word from God.
All this has me asking – why aren’t there more believers like this? What do Kingdom-builders put into practice that the rest of us don’t even know?
Number one? These believers are shapeable. Each has a heart that is looking to be molded and shaped by God.
Believers know the wrestling match the heart is. One day we are receptive to what our loved one asks, the next not so much. A callousness persistently attempts to enshroud our heart, and much of our spiritual growth is determined by whether or not we maintain a heart open to instruction. Powerful Christians cultivate a shapeable, the Bible would say, softened heart, a heart of flesh and not of stone.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? – Jeremiah 17:9
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. – Ezekiel 36:26
Perhaps a prayer for a softened heart needs to become more prominent in our churches? Too often we come to church asking Jesus to forgive our sins and not to fix the flaws which are sin’s source – a sick heart. We either do not realize Jesus came to heal our heart, or we are too proud to ask because we would rather hold on to a familiar stone-cold death than ask for a new heart, and the life it brings.
Both is not an option. Jesus always picked metaphors in the extreme to drive this point home. We are either light or darkness, lost or found, dead or alive. For Jesus, the heart is too sacred a ground to lose because on it Jesus builds His Kingdom. The Kingdom of God is nothing more than the building of what God loves. In that effort our hearts are holy ground, and in keeping them shapeable we give ourselves and others the chance to know a love that can shape us and this world.
(thank you for reading, if you found Jesus in this please comment and share, & if called to help us – give)