Now, through the past few weeks as He has stirred my heart and slowly given me this perspective, I've noticed something. I've been really, super hard on myself. It's like all of a sudden I see what wretch I really am. I've really had to struggle to keep my focus on the heart of Christ and not on my sinful heart that was on constant display in my mind. Then, as I read through the book "A Journey to Victorious Praying" by Bill Thrasher, I read this:
John Hyde was a missionary to India who was known as "Praying Hyde". He held prayer conventions. At the end of one such convention, a dear believer was crying to God to give him a heart of love for other people, and at the same time was bemoaning his own cold and hardened heart. He was interrupted by a friend who lovingly rebuked him. He said, "Why are you looking down on your poor self, brother? Of course your heart is cold and dead. But you have asked for the broken heart of Jesus, His tears. Is He a liar? Had He not given you what you asked for? Then why look down away from His heart to your own?"Wow! It was as if God spoke directly to me through this paragraph. I had been so busy "bemoaning" my own heart that I was completely missing the heart of Christ. I was focused on my sin and my wretchedness when He was clearly showing me His heart, which is nothing like that. My focus needed to turn. When we see the heart of God - the pure, holy, perfect heart of God, we cannot help but understand the wretchedness of our own hearts in contrast to it. It's a battle not to get caught up in that and allow it to steal our focus, though.
I'm learning that I need to come to God and confess that in my own strength I am a mess - but when I ask Him for strength to turn from my heart toward His and trust Him to move me, grow me, and give me His heart, He will do that for me. I just need to trust Him to give me Christlike fervency and compassion because I have this whole other part of me that desires to be self-focused and self-absorbed. I feel like Paul when he said in Romans 7:24 "What a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord."
I will end with this quote from Jim Cymbala..."I discovered an astonishing truth: God is attracted to weaknesses. He can't resist those who humbly and honestly admit how desperately they need Him."
Let's be desperate for Him, friends. He wants to help us and He will answer us - we just need to ask Him to help us focus on the answer, not the problem, as He faithfully responds.
Philippians 3:12-14 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.