The human heart fascinates me. I've watched surgeries (on tv), I've researched procedures for a book. How God fashioned us, is truly amazing. This week while moving through the Bible study, Your Strong Suit, by Donna Pyle, she led me to a verse in the book of James.Chapter 5. Verse 8. "Establish your hearts for the coming of the Lord is at hand."
After the movie clip from Clue bounced out of my head--you know where J. Edgar Hoover shows up and tells them the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand then Mrs. Peacock slams the door in his face and calls him a beatnik--the word "establish" stuck with me.
What exactly does it mean to establish your heart?
The Greek word for "establish" is "sterizo." It means "to make stable, to strengthen, to render constant."
I'm working on strength for this year. You can read about it, HERE. Not just physical strength but in every area of my life. So, I wasn't surprised to find the word "strength" in this little nugget that God flicked at me.
This Greek word, "sterizo" is a derivative of "histemi"--which happens to be a Greek word Donna Pyle comes back to often in her study, because it means "withstand" and Your Strong Suit is all about the armor of God and withstanding in the evil day. I had to smile about that, how God is using her study to minister to me and then pinging other scriptures off of that for my life. He works like that often.
My question was, "Lord, if you want me to strengthen my heart, I'm down with that, but what exactly do you mean?"
In the Bible, the word "heart" isn't always meant as an organ. The Greek word for "heart" is "Kardia." I bet reading that you immediately related it to our English word, "Cardio." That's where we get it. Don't feel bad if you didn't. No one is judging!
"Kardia" refers to the actual organ, but also denotes "the centre and seat of spiritual life."
The center. The core.
Strengthen the center, the core,
of your spiritual life.
Last year, I did P90X. I'd like to tell you how fit and trim I am, but the truth is the minute I stopped doing it, the muscle tone fell away. Quickly. But I learned something of importance in this program.
It's all about the Core.
In an article on core fitness, Elizabeth Quinn states, "To build a strong core you need to exercise a variety of muscles...The core muscles also make it possible to stand upright and move on two feet. These muscles help control movements, transfer energy, shift body weight and move in any direction."
Interesting since my study is talking about wrestling, standing, and withstanding.
To establish a heart, means to build strong spiritual muscles (by exercising various muscles), thus creating balance, (controlled spiritual movements), and the ability to move in any direction--(flexibility) when God asks you to step out and do something you might be uncomfortable doing.
As I looked at the passages above this particular scripture, I found some exercises that can help build core spiritual muscle.
- 4. Be generous with wealth and remember where your true treasure lies.
- James Chapter 5:1-6 talks about fattened hearts--those who have been corrupted by their wealth. Nothing wrong with wealth, as long as it doesn’t turn you into a selfish monster.
3. Include God in all your plans
James Chapter 4:13-17 talks about boasting in what you will or will not do, never considering that tomorrow may never come, after all we are but a vapor in the wind. Instead, we need to say, "If the Lords wills we shall live and do this or that." Now, that doesn't mean every time we make plans for the next day, we tell our BFF, "If the Lords wills, we shall have lunch." It means, don't go about planning life and forget who holds our destiny. Include God. Even in a shopping trip! You never know when you'll just "stumble" upon a deal. ;)
2. Do not Judge
James Chapter 4:11-12 talks about speaking evil or backbiting. It's not our place to condemn. Jesus has much to say concerning us, but it is the time of seeking and saving what has been lost. But one day--or night--He will come. As Judge. Until then, we should get on board with the program and "snatch souls from the fire" not send them there behind their backs. Ouch! I know. I got the whammy first, so...
1. Go Low
James Chapter 4:7-10 talks about submitting to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, He'll draw near to you. Be sorry for your sins. Weep over them. Sometimes, we focus so much on mercy, we forget to be repentant for our sins. Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. I find when I go low, God soars in my life. And if I work my core muscles, I can squat for days, not just over nasty public toilets.
These are just a few exercises, but they have to be done daily. More than just your #30minaday. It won't be easy by any means, but what real in-depth workout is? If it was easy, we'd all look like Jillian Michaels. I was going to say Billy Graham, but...whatever, you get my point!
What do you think is tougher: Working out physically or spiritually? Why?
I'm hosting at Living By Grace today! Come by and chat or offer some encouragement to others!