The Heart - Part 5
We are all carrying, or have carried, hurts from our past, but our future depends on whether we still give those hurts influence and power in our lives.
We are all carrying, or have carried, hurts from our past. If we let them, these wounds have the power to influence our decisions for the rest of our lives. We give our pain this power when we are continually thinking about it, replaying it in our minds or coming up with ways that it could have been avoided.
What this does is keep the wound open. It could have happened twenty years ago and be as fresh in our minds as if it happened a month ago.
It may sound like this is the opposite of a hardened heart, but it isn’t. This is one of the definitions of a hardened heart, because a hard heart is one that is unresponsive to God. When we are more responsive to our pain than our heavenly Father, our heart is hard.
In this case we could say that our heart is cold. We turn inward and focus on protecting ourselves from ever being hurt again, and in the process, we miss out on the blessings of God.
We stop giving our pain influence and power in our lives when we turn away from it. If we’re going to turn away from it we have to turn to something else. What is that something else?
Hebrews 12:2(a) says, “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.”
As long as we are fixing our eyes on our pain, it will continue to have power over us. We should fix our eyes on Him. When our focus is on Jesus our healer, our hearts will be healed.
We will no longer identify with our loss, tragedies and missed opportunities. We will identify with our righteousness in Christ.
Keeping our focus on Jesus will make us sensitive and receptive to the love of God. We won’t be cold and unfeeling anymore. We’ll be able to trust Him and walk in the plan He has for us.
It all starts with turning away from the mistakes and pain of the past and toward our loving Savior, Jesus Christ.
We should never allow our pain to make us cold and insensitive to God. How do we do this though? By responding to hurt the way our Father tells us to.
We imitate Jesus. What did Jesus do in the idle of the most painful moment of His life?
He looked ahead to the promise of God.
Hebrews 12:2(b), says “...who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Let’s look at what the word “despise” really means.
It means to think lightly of, to not care for., to neglect. It is the opposite of caring about something or supporting something.
So, to despise that shame of our past means that we think lightly of it. We neglect it, and we stop supporting it.
Too many times we allow shame to define us. We turn it into the biggest part of our identity. Instead of despising it, we exalt it. Instead of neglecting it, we focus on it. We continue supporting it.
When we choose to despise the shame, we strip it of its power over us. It is no longer our identity. It doesn’t hang over us like a black cloud.
That is what Jesus did on the cross; He despised the shame and focused on the joy set before Him.
That is why He isn’t just Jesus of Nazareth who died on a cross He is Jesus Christ, the risen savior.
We have faith in God because He always has joy set before us. If we’re too focused on the circumstance we’ll get stuck in it and miss the joy.
Notice that joy was set before Jesus. It was out in front of Him. Jesus did not have a mindset that His best days were behind Him. He didn’t hang on the cross thinking about all the people that He raised from the dead. He wasn’t reminiscing about the miracles or the times of prayer. He was looking forward to what would come after the Cross.
Jesus made a choice to look beyond the pain of His present situation to see what God had in store for Him.
It’s a conscious choice to look at Jesus in the middle of the pain. This is how we keep a sensitive heart toward our heavenly Father in the midst of adverse circumstances. We put our faith in the promises of God. We believe in the promise of joy.
This will cause us to stop identifying with the shame of our past and to know that we are complete in Christ (Collossians 2:10). We won’t just be old sinners, saved by grace. We’ll be kings and priests, seated with Christ in heavenly places (Rev 5:10, Eph 2:6).