When all around me is darkness, and the darkness seeks to overtake the light within me I tell my heart, “BUCK UP!” I cannot allow myself to be declined towards God. I must lift my face to Him, and as the psalmist said, “incline my heart to perform His statutes.” My heart does not default to look to God. Just like every other aspect of my being, my heart must be woken up, stretched and risen. I incline my body to get out of bed in the morning, I incline my mind to become active and quick-thinking, so also I must incline my heart to look to God for “out of the heart flows the issues of life.”
I thought I had to find a physical secret place before I could enter into a secret place, before I could connect to God, I thought I had to be in a place I had named “secret place.” How incredibly ignorant of me, because I know better than to think the secret place is anywhere except in my heart. Truly, I can say at any time to my heart, “BUCK UP!” I will sing a song of worship declaring, “I run to the throne room,” and I will incline my heart to God. Even in the midst of the darkness, I keep my light alive by inclining my heart toward God. I protect my heart by inclining it toward God. That’s not to say I will never sin, but it is to say that I will not be overtaken by my sin and come to regret the decisions I made as long as I am active in inclining my heart toward God.
I’m on a California vacation right now with some of my extended family and it’s hard not to succumb to drinking too much, and taking the Lord’s name in vain, and talking about women as if they are only objects of my sexual desire. In fact, in vacations to California before this one I had no idea how to be among my family in such a setting and not do these things. Last time I was here, roughly a year ago, it was all I could do to give in to the smoking, drinking, and other immorality, because I did not know how to find a secret place among the darkness. I was overcome by the darkness around me and I regret the things I did.
So you might ask (as I have asked myself) why did you even go with your family if they are not a good influence? Well, at most points after my last California vacation, I have rejected any time with my family because I knew that I was not strong enough or in touch enough to control myself and not regret my behavior. So, I have stayed away from parts of my family which influence me too strongly to sin, but I know I am called to influence them toward the Truth and Light. However, how can I do so when I can’t even overcome their darkness because the light in me is hardly enough to light my own path? Remember Jesus said the light within may be a greater darkness than the darkness on the outside!
So many more questions and points to make, as always, but I’ll leave you with the challenge to incline your heart to God when it is most difficult. Take any opportunity to tell your heart, “BUCK UP.”
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